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Russian Opposition Politician Shlosberg Barred From Duma Election


Lev Shlosberg (file photo)

Russian opposition politician Lev Shlosberg of the Yabloko party says he has been barred from seeking election to the parliament's lower chamber, the State Duma, next month.

The Moscow City Court cancelled Shlosberg's registration after a member of the Green party filed a lawsuit against him, he wrote on Telegram on August 9.

Shlosberg, who is also seeking reelection to the regional parliament of the northwestern Pskov region, said he would appeal the ruling, which he described as "unlawful and unfounded."

He did not give further details.

Last week, Shlosberg and another member of the liberal Yabloko party, Nikolai Kuzmin, were barred from running for seats in Pskov's parliament.

Some politicians in the western Russian region said at the time that Shlosberg and Kuzmin were barred because of their support for jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, whose network of organizations has been declared "extremist."

But on August 4, the day after their registrations in Pskov were cancelled, local election officials returned their names to the list of candidates.

Shlosberg is one of the best-known figures in the Yabloko party and a regional lawmaker who has openly criticized the Russian government for years.

On September 19, Russia will hold elections for the State Duma, 39 regional parliaments, and nine regional governors.

In the run-up to the vote, the Kremlin has cracked down on opposition political figures and independent media.

In June, a Moscow court ruled Navalny's political network should be labeled as "extremist" in what the opposition politician's team has called a sign of a "truly new level" of lawlessness in the country.

Also in June, President Vladimir Putin endorsed a law that bars leaders and founders of organizations declared "extremist" or terrorists by Russian courts from running for elected office for a period of five years. Other members or employees of such organizations face a three-year ban.

The two factors together prevent people associated with Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) and his network of regional political offices across Russia from seeking public office. It also carries lengthy prison terms for activists who have worked with the organizations.

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