The Moscow City Court has banned a rally planned by opposition politician Ilya Yashin for December 24 in the Russian capital, he wrote on Facebook on December 20.
Yashin, the head of Moscow’s Krasnoselsky municipal district, announced earlier that he planned to stage what he called a "Free Elections Day" festival in Lermontov Park, saying that lawmakers do not need approval from city authorities to hold the event.
"The court acted swiftly. The lawsuit was filed just yesterday and today we received a lightning-fast decision... I consider the ruling politically motivated and illegal," Yashin wrote on December 20, adding that he will appeal it and that preparations for the rally will continue.
According to Yashin, the court's decision was influenced by the Moscow city authorities.
Supporters of anticorruption activist and opposition politician Aleksei Navalny are also planning rallies in 20 Russian cities, including Moscow on December 24. Navalny has been campaigning for the presidency since December of last year, but election officials said in June that he is ineligible to run due to a financial-crimes conviction that he contends was politically motivated and baseless.
The court's decision comes two days after the presidential campaign officially started in Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his decision to run for a fourth term on December 6. His high approval ratings and control over the levers of power make his victory a foregone conclusion in Russia, where government critics say election campaigns and results are manipulated by the authorities.