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Russian Opposition Politician Barred From Election To Moscow City Council Vows To Appeal

Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin gestures as he speaks during a rally against efforts to stop opposition candidates from registering for elections to the Moscow City Duma in central Moscow on July 15.

MOSCOW -- Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin has vowed to appeal the Moscow Election Commission's July 15 decision to disqualify him from running in the elections for the capital's city council, the City Duma.

Yashin, who is the head of Moscow’s Krasnoselsky municipal district, wrote on Facebook that he will also take part in daily rallies by independent candidates.

According to Yashin, the commission disqualified him because it claimed many of the 4,500 signatures of support he gathered that were needed to run in the September polls contained wrong information.

Yashin wrote that the commission itself deliberately registered wrong personal data for those who had signed for him. According to Yashin, the commission ignored letters from his supporters confirming the accuracy of their data and signatures.

The commission, Yashin said, also claimed he used the website of the Krasnoselksy municipal district to promote his political statements on YouTube, an accusation which he rejects.

Yashin vowed to appeal the commission's decision and attend daily rallies on Moscow’s central Trubnaya Square.

On July 15, dozens of independent candidates and their supporters rallied on Trubnaya Square, demanding that the commission register their candidacies, after a promised meeting with the commission chief, Valentin Gorbunov, was canceled.

On July 14, police violently dispersed demonstrators who demanded that Gorbunov meet personally with the candidates.

Moscow police detained more than 25 demonstrators outside the Moscow Election Commission headquarters on July 14 after independent and opposition candidates called for a sit-in protest following the commission’s refusal to register them and demanded a meeting with Gorbunov.

Yashin and three other candidates -- Lyubov Sobol, Ivan Zhdanov, and Yulia Galyamina -- were among those taken to police stations after an hours-long peaceful protest.

On July 15, a court in Moscow found Galyamina guilty of organizing an unsanctioned rally and of disobedience to police and fined her 31,000 rubles ($490). Other candidates were not charged with anything.

The protests were prompted by the commission's move to invalidate many of the signatures required from each independent candidate in order to run in the September polls.