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IZHEVSK, November 24 (Itar-Tass) — Udmurtia's election commission decided to suspend the dissemination of the promotional materials by the Communist Party (KPRF) using the photos of famous weapon designer Mikhail Kalashnikov. On Thursday, the first secretary of the Udmurtia branch of the KPRF confirmed the information.
"The dissemination of the materials was suspended from Thursday by decision of Udmurtia's election commission, in order to clarify the situation calmly," first secretary of the KPRF's Udmurtia branch Vladimir Bodrov told Itar-Tass.
According to the KPRF representative, the regional branch had indeed promoted KPRF materials featuring the photo of Izhmash chief designer Mikhail Kalashnikov, as well as his statements.
"We were doing it legally, because Mikhail Kalashnikov had given his consent as a citizen, to use his picture and statements, because he is a long-standing Communist. We sent documents with his signature to the Central Election Commission in Moscow, and a copy to the republic's commission," Bodrov underlined.
He added that they had obtained Kalashnikov's consent on October 4. A week later, the KPRF began to disseminate information bulletins and calendars featuring the famous designer. By now, almost all the materials have been distributed.
"We believe we have such a right, but somebody apparently thinks we do not. The situation smells of spin doctoring; it seems somebody is trying to smear the campaign, and defame the well-known designer," Bodrov said.
On November 22, CEC chairman Vladimir Churov asked Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev to give an evaluation to the controversial documents regarding the use of the photo of Mikhail Kalashnikov in KPRF's election campaign.
In his letter, Churov noted that on October 26, a KPRF authorized agent had shown a document to the CEC "confirming Mikhail Kalashnikov’s consent to use his photos in KPRF promotional materials."
However, on November 19, Kalashnikov sent a letter to the CEC "denying the fact of signing the above document"
Secretary of the presidium of United Russia's General Council Sergei Neverov lashed out at the KPRF for campaigning with Kalashnikov's photos without permission.
Speaking at the plenary session of the state Duma earlier this week, Neverov said, addressing the Communists: "you've broken not only the law, but all the ethic and moral norms. You forged Mikhail Timofeyevich's signature on the CEC permission to use his name."
"Today, a number of regions are actively disseminating the promotional materials alleging Kalashnikov’s support for the KPRF candidate. They are particularly numerous in the Samara region. In Togliatti, more than a dozen billboards were hung out with the photo of Mikhail Kalashnikov together with KPRF candidate Leonid Kalashnikov," Neverov said.
Having learnt from journalists that the KPRF is speculating with his name, Kalashnikov officially made a statement to the Samara region prosecutors and the Central Election Commission. He demands a check and a stop to illegal campaigning, according to the United Russia lawmaker.
"In his statement, Kalashnikov acknowledged that State Duma lawmaker Leonid Kalashnikov had indeed visited him and asked him to photograph together. Mikhail Timofeyevich did not think that it would be used in campaign materials without his permission. And he did not give his permission," Neverov said, referring to Kalashnikov's official statement according to which he had not given permission to the KPRF or its candidates to use his photos in the election campaign.