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State Duma criticizes election to Coordination Council of Russian Opposition

October 23, 2012, 12:12 UTC+3

Deputies believe that this kind of activity "smells of artificial excitement, self-advertisement, filth and underhand games"

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MOSCOW, October 23 (Itar-Tass) — The State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament sharply criticized the election to the so-called "Coordination Council of Russian Opposition." Head of the house committee for public associations and religious organizations Yaroslav Nilov /Liberal Democratic party/ said the whole situation /around the election to the Coordination Council/ raised too many questions. "Voter turnout was quite low on Single Voting Day a week ago. And this kind of activity smells of artificial excitement, self-advertisement, filth and underhand games."

"Any transparency is out of the question," the parliamentarian told Itar-Tass, noting that "the organizers of the elections "even managed to cheat the fraudster /the founder of the infamous MMM pyramid scheme/ Sergei Mavrodi."

For his part, first deputy chairman of the committee for constitutional legislation and state development Alexander Ageyev /A Just Russia faction/ stated that contrary to the expectations of maximum openness of the election to the Council, "there were major excesses," for example, "not everybody was allowed to participate" while the statistics were obviously overstated.

"A Just Russia has always opposed street movement. We object to taking people out into the streets to drive a spike into the society," he told Tass. One of the possible lamentable results is "the growth of nationalist sentiment and strife." In this connection, the lawmaker called for making the most of the parliament's rostrum."

Chairman of the Public Council of the Observer Corps Boris Nadezhdin called the elections to the Council "an interesting experience," which raised a number of questions.

In particular, Nadezhdin noted the fact of 160,000 voters, just 81,000 had taken part in the election. It is unclear why the rest have not voted. He also said he was amazed at the composition of candidates from the Liberals. "I don't know if the nationalists or Leftists were elected properly; I'm not ready to comment. But I know the liberals. If we consider the Liberal section, I only have nodding acquaintance with Sergei Davidis, and that's all. I don't rule out that they are decent persons; but I don't know them," he said.

Nadezhdin therefore said he doubted that the section was well represented. "The liberal opposition really exists," but many questioned the opportunity to participate in the election to the Coordination Council. "I'm not ready to take part in the election into one team with nationalists, Leftists and radicals," he stated.

As for the so-called public list, Nadezhdin called it a separate issue. "It's hilarious to compare Ksenia Sobchak and Boris Nemtsov; the latter was actual Number Two person under /Boris/ Yeltsin," he explained.

In this connection he said he was wondering who would represent the Coordination Council. "Millions of people sit in the kitchens in their homes berating the authorities; but 160,000 persons listed as voters are just a fraction of 1 percent." This movement does not have much of energy reserve, and the election results look disappointing, Nadezhdin said.

The election to the so-called Coordination Council of Russian Opposition ended on Monday evening. Chairman of the Central Election Committee Leonid Volkov told Itar-Tass 81,801 persons had taken part in the voting. Two hundred and nine candidates ran for 45 seats in this body.

Among those elected on the Council were blogger Alexei Navalny, writer Dmitry Bykov, anchor Ksenia Sobchak, one of the Solidarity movement leaders Ilya Yashin, environmentalist Yevgeniya Chirikova, Left Front coordinator Sergei Udaltov who is on recognizance in the criminal case over preparations for mass disturbances, former lawmaker Gennady Gudkov, and his son, incumbent lawmaker Dmitry Gudkov.

The list includes a number of persons arrested or wanted on suspicious of involvement in various crimes, including Leonid Razvozzhayev, arrested on suspicion of preparing riots.

The election was held at the initiative of part of the Organizing Committee of protests in Bolotnaya Square and Sakharov Prospekt. The Council should take over its functions.

Earlier, law-enforcement bodies opened a criminal case at the complaints of several citizens who had accused the election organizers of stealing funds. The candidates to the Council had to make a 10,000-rouble contribution, but they were denied registration, while the money was never returned.

According to Leonid Volkov, these statements were written by followers of MMM pyramid founder Sergei Mavrodi. The votes by the MMM voters were annulled by the Central Election Committee.

The voting was organized on the Internet. Also, voting stations were opened at 35 Russian regions. Seven voting stations functioned abroad.


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