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Four Yabloko Party Members Get On Ballot For Moscow Municipal Vote

Sergei Mitrokhin at a rally in Moscow on Sakharov Avenue. (file photo)

Four of eight candidates from the liberal Yabloko party are registered for next month’s election to the Moscow city council after a court on August 13 reversed a ruling by election officials to bar Sergei Mitrokhin from running.

A former city councilman, Mitrokhin heads the Stolitsya rights group. He is joined by Yevgeny Bunimovich, the Moscow Children’s Rights ombudsman, Maksim Kruglov, an expert at the party’s Anticorruption Policy Center, and Daria Besedina, an architect.

Viewed as a rare concession, the favorable decision came three days after tens of thousands of protesters turned out at the latest rally in Russia’s capital to demand a fair vote on September 8.

Election officials have refused to register most independent and opposition candidates on the grounds that many of the required signatures of support were invalid or falsified.

The rejected candidates have accused the local election commission and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin of abusing their power to keep them off the ballot.

Prominent opposition figures banned from running in the September 8 poll include politician Dmitry Gudkov, Lyubov Sobol, a lawyer for the Anti-Corruption Foundation that is headed by Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny, Ivan Zhdanov, who heads Navalny's foundation, and opposition politician Ilya Yashin, who is the head of Moscow's Krasnoselsky municipal district.

Police detained more than 250 following the latest rally on August 10, which was the fourth consecutive weekly demonstration and the first to include "solidarity" rallies in other Russian cities, including St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg.

Scores Detained In Moscow, Including Opposition Leader
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Police violence has accompanied the previous rallies.

On August 10, an officer who appeared to be a National Guardsman was filmed punching Daria Sosnovskaya, a female protester, in the stomach.

The National Guard later denied having ties to the officer.

Sosnovskaya's lawyer, Tatyana Molokanova told Interfax on August 13 that her client also suffered a blow to the head when officers shoved her into a police van.

Sosnovskaya has been diagnosed with a concussion and having bruises on her scalp and right chest, according to her lawyer.

The female protester said she was not guilty of an administrative infraction on what authorities alleged was "violating the established procedure of a rally."

Sosnovskaya didn’t appear in court on August 13, her lawyer said, due to the concussion.

Police started to detain protesters on August 10 when they continued to walk in groups after the authorized rally ended.

The authorities had previously warned of possible "criminal liability" for "peaceful walks" after the authorized rally.

Fifteen people from previous rallies have also been indicted in a criminal probe for "rioting" and face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Russian President Vladimir Putin created the National Guard in 2016 to fight terrorism and organized crime. It is headed by Viktor Zolotov, a former steelworker who had been the head of the presidential security service from 2003 to 2013.

With reporting by TASS and Interfax