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Bashkortostan Opposition Politician Barred From Russian Duma Elections


Tahir Vakhitov left his job at the BCT television station to protest its coverage of demonstrations by local activists to protect Kushtau Hill from mining.

UFA, Russia -- An opposition politician in Russia's Republic of Bashkortostan in the Volga region says he has been denied registration for next month’s elections to the parliament’s lower chamber, the State Duma.

Tahir Vakhitov wrote on Instagram late on August 8 that the election commission in Bashkortostan's capital, Ufa, had rejected his registration papers.

He did not provide further details.

A year ago, Vakhitov left his job at the BCT television station to protest its coverage of demonstrations by local activists to protect Kushtau Hill from mining.

During the weeks-long protests, which attracted little attention from local media, the protesters scuffled with police and fought with security guards of the company involved in the mining project.

On September 19, Russia will vote to choose members of the State Duma, 39 regional parliaments, and nine regional governors.

Candidacies of several potential independent and opposition candidates have been rejected by electoral authorities across Russia in recent months.

In the run-up to the elections, the Kremlin has cracked down on opposition political figures and independent media as the ruling United Russia party's popularity dramatically decreased since last year.

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