Russia’s Central Election Commission on August 7 upheld previous rulings to bar two prominent opposition figures from running in the September 8 elections to the Moscow city council.
The main election board’s decision came after hearing complaints lodged by politician Dmitry Gudkov and Lyubov Sobol, a lawyer for the Anti-Corruption Foundation that is headed by Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny.
“You are driving people onto the streets,” Sobol told elections officials after her appeal was denied while engaged in a shouting match. “You are stealing the election.”
Altogether, 19 independent and opposition figures have filed complaints to get on the ballot for a spot in the 45-seat Moscow legislature, which oversees a yearly budget of more than $40 billion.
Moscow has witnessed multiple protests since early July when the registration refusals started. Election officials claim that some of the 5,500 required signatures candidates had collected to get on the ballot were invalid.
Some 1,400 demonstrators were detained by police in a violent crackdown at a rally in the Russian capital on July 27. A similar scene took place at an unsanctioned demonstration in Moscow on August 3.
Dozens have since been fined or given jail sentences for holding and participating in the rally.
Authorities have also opened a criminal investigation into “rioting,” which carries a maximum prison sentence of eight years.
Another probe was launched into Navalny’s nonprofit on suspicion of laundering more than $15.3 billion, the Investigative Committee of Russia said in a statement.
The next opposition rally is scheduled for August 10.
Some of Navalny’s regional supporters have received permission from local authorities to hold what they call “solidarity” rallies on the same day.
Protests are scheduled in the cities of Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don, Tyumen, and Yekaterinburg.