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Roskomnadzor threatens to block Communist Party website over protest announcement

Russia’s federal censor sent a notice to the Communist Party (KPRF) warning that its website could be blocked over an announcement about an upcoming protest, the party’s central committee secretary Sergey Obukhov said on Friday, September 24.

The KPRF is planning to hold a protest rally in Moscow on Saturday, September 25.

Roskomnadzor stated that the party’s website contains information “with calls to participate in mass events held in violation of the established order.” The Russian Attorney General’s Office demanded that the protest announcement be taken down.

The protest announcement was subsequently removed from the KPRF’s website. But it was soon replaced with a new announcement, which described Saturday’s event as a meeting between lawmakers and voters — by law, this type of public gathering doesn’t require official authorization. 

Update. Also on Friday, the Moscow Mayor’s Office rejected the Communist Party’s application to hold a protest rally on Pushkin Square on Saturday, September 25. City Hall cited the ongoing ban on holding public events in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Attorney General’s Office and the Moscow Police also issued warnings about the admissibility of attending the protest rally. In response, the KPRF underscored that in addition to applying to hold a rally, they notified the Mayor’s Office about Communist Party deputies holding a meeting with voters, which does not require official permission.

Following last weekend’s State Duma elections, the Communist Party accused the authorities of falsifying the online voting results in Moscow. Despite the fact that KPRF candidates were leading by a wide margin the capital’s single-mandate constituencies, they lost the elections after the online ballots were tallied. The Communist Party announced plans to file a legal complaint over the results of electronic voting on September 22.

The day after the elections, September 20, KPRF representatives held a protest rally in downtown Moscow. Several days later, police visited the homes of the rally’s attendees, detained them, and charged them with misdemeanors. 

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