KAZAN -- A politically active blogger from Tatarstan who is also a member of a Russian opposition party has been barred from taking part in a televised debate on upcoming parliamentary elections, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.
Irek Murtazin told RFE/RL that security guards did not allow him to enter the studios of Tatarstan's state television channel in Kazan when he arrived to take part in the debate, which he had been invited to speak at on December 1. He was told his name was not on the list of participants.
Murtazin, a member of the Yabloko opposition party, was also not allowed to enter the building of another television channel, Tatarstan-Yanga Gasyr (Tatarstan-New Century). Other Yabloko members took part in the program in his place.
Murtazin told RFE/RL the incident was most probably politically motivated. He said the director of Tatarstan-Yanga Gasyr, Ilshat Aminov, could be behind the ban.
Aminov is a member of the ruling United Russia party, and both television channels are located in the same building.
"The security guards are fully supervised by Aminov, and that is why I was not allowed inside the building," Murtazin said.
Murtazin added that he has filed a complaint with the city police regarding the "unlawful situation" he faced. "I want law enforcement and justice officials to deal with it."
Murtazin, 46, was released on parole in January after serving 14 months of a 21-month jail term for "instigating hatred and hostility" in a blog in September 2008 about then-Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiyev.
Murtazin was Shaimiyev's press spokesman from 1999-2002.
The Russian State Duma elections are scheduled for December 4.
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