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Russian Elections Chief Attacked At Home Days Ahead Of Controversial Vote

Updated

Russian Central Election Commission chief Ella Pamfilova (file photo)

MOSCOW -- Russia's Interior Ministry says an intruder broke into the home of Ella Pamfilova, the head of the country's Central Election Commission, and assaulted her two days before controversial regional and local elections.

"The masked intruder broke in through a window and got onto the house's terrace and repeatedly tasered the home owner [Pamfilova] and then fled," the ministry said in a statement, noting that the incident occurred in the early hours of September 6.

The Investigative Committee said investigators "will thoroughly examine each possible scenario for the committed crime, including an attack in connection with professional activity."

"I want to hope it was an accident...maybe somebody wanted to scare me, or he mixed up houses, or wanted to steal something," Pamfilova told Rossia-24.

The 65-year-old, who attended a conference on Digitalization of the Electoral Process in Moscow, also told reporters she had hurt one of her fingers and scratched her side while grappling with the assailant and then resisting him with a chair.

She said the intruder appeared to be young.

"It's OK, I will survive," Pamfilova also said.

Russians in many regions, including the capital, Moscow, will head to the polls on September 8 to vote in elections that have sparked weeks of protests over the Central Election Commission's exclusion of many opposition candidates.

Police have violently dispersed several of the demonstrations, some of which authorities described as "illegal mass gatherings."

More than 2,000 people have been detained, drawing international condemnation, and some have already received jail sentences.

Demonstrators have continued to gather each week ahead of the vote despite the jail sentences, sweeps aimed at opposition leaders, and official threats.

The protests have turned into a major challenge for the Kremlin and a reflection of growing impatience among Russians with President Vladimir Putin.

With reporting by Interfax, TASS, Reuters, and AFP
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