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Former Navalny coordinator Irina Fatyanova barred from running in St. Petersburg election

Source: Fontanka

The former head of Navalny’s St. Petersburg campaign office, Irina Fatyanova, has been banned from running in the upcoming election to the city’s Legislative Assembly. 

The local newspaper Fontanka reported that the territorial election commission for St. Petersburg’s Petrogradsky district revoked Fatyanova’s nomination following an audit by the Justice Ministry and the prosecutor’s office, which established that she still has connections to organizations banned in Russia.

“According to the results of the audit on July 27, Irina Fatyanova is under restrictions and does not have the right to participate in the elections. [...] It has been established that Fatyanova is the leader of a regional branch of a public association involved in extremist activities, whose activities are banned by a court ruling,” the election commission’s decision states, as quoted by Fontanka. 

Fatyanova was preparing to run as an independent; at the time of the election commission’s decision, she had already collected more than half of the required signatures to support her nomination. 

In June, the Moscow City Court blacklisted Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, Citizens’ Rights Protection Foundation, and national network of campaign offices as “extremist organizations,” ordering an immediate halt to their activities. Shortly beforehand, the State Duma adopted a law that bans anyone involved in the activities of an “extremist organization” from running in Russian elections at any level.

Citing the new law, election officials in Moscow have refused to register opposition politician Ilya Yashin’s candidacy in an upcoming by-election for the City Duma and barred former Navalny coordinator Oleg Stepanov from registering his State Duma candidacy bid. Election officials in Perm have also barred the former head of Navalny’s regional campaign office, Sergey Ukhov, from running for the City Duma. 

The former head of Navalny’s Murmansk campaign office, Violetta Grudina, was forcibly hospitalized in mid-July after the authorities opened a criminal case against her for allegedly violating quarantine requirements while recovering from COVID-19. The case was opened after Grudina announced her intent to run in the upcoming City Council elections. On July 26, Grudina announced a hunger strike, claiming that the medical institution where she is being held has deliberately failed to deliver her required candidacy paperwork to election officials. 

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