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MOSCOW, November 29 (Itar-Tass) —— The Yabloko Party’s protest against the ban on its election clip, “Tired of Vegetables? Vote for Yabloko!” was a spectacular although rather calm event held near the Russian Central Elections Commission building in Moscow Bolshoy Cherkassky Side-Street on Tuesday .
Party activists brought carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and other vegetables. “Guards did not let us in,” Yabloko Chairman Sergei Mitrokhin told Itar-Tass. He noted that the guards were polite and he was allowed to go inside.
“Central Elections Commission Chairman Vladimir Churov invited Sergei Mitrokhin to tea in his office, and the action participants went away,” a source at the Central Elections Commission staff told Itar-Tass.
The party leader refuted the invitation. The Yabloko members spent about 15 minutes near the edifice of the Central Elections Commission, put the vegetables on the porch and went away.
Mitrokhin could not conceal his indignation at the prohibition of the 30-election election clip. He admitted that he could not resist that decision and all they could do was to hold the action, “Churov Likes Vegetables.” “It is absolutely senseless to challenge the ban on the election clip in court within the time left before the election.” The canvassing stops on December 3 midnight.
Churov said many times that the Central Elections Commission “had no right to ban election clips, as that was the prerogative of television channels.” Similar statements came from Central Elections Commission member Maya Grishina, who heads the working group for information disputes. “The Central Elections Commission has no right to evaluate canvassing materials for possible violations of law. We may only send such materials to law enforcers for evaluation by request of television channel administrations,” she said.
Six election clips of two parties were sent for such evaluation last week.
The Tuesday protest near the Central Elections Commission building was not the first one. Representatives of various political forces demanded that Churov must shave in the case of an unfair election and even brought shaving items to the Commission headquarters. The latest action, “The Burial of Elections”, was held on November 21 by the non-parliamentary opposition. Churov regretted that the protesters did not leave the coffin at the Commission. “They took away the coffin,” he lamented. Itar-Tass asked why would he need the coffin, and Churov replied with a smile, “A good master can make use even of a bad coffin.”
He offers similar reactions to other protests of the sort.