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On Wednesday, the last candidates for Moscow mayor were registered, including Yabloko leader Sergei Mitrokhin and a nominee from the RPR-PARNAS Party Alexei Navalny, who was found guilty of property embezzlement at the Kirovles enterprise on Thursday. On the day the verdict is being pronounced to the oppositionist a meeting of the dissenters is expected in downtown Moscow. They are protesting against “the settlement of scores with the political opponents through the criminal cases against them.”
Navalny did not come to the elections commission to receive a certificate of a candidate, as the latter was preparing to go to Kirov, where the guilty verdict is being pronounced against him on Thursday, the Kommersant daily cited head of Navalny’s staff Leonid Volkov as saying. If the guilty verdict enters in force before September 8, Navalny’s registration will be annulled. Acting Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin stated on Wednesday that, in his view, Alexei Navalny will continue to run in the election race. “As for the court, I am not a major expert in the criminal procedure. I believe that the verdict of the first instance will not change anything for him and he will continue to run in the elections,” the acting mayor said. “We did all to register him, so that the Muscovites will have an opportunity of a larger choice between the candidates for mayor,” Sobyanin said.
The Moscow City Elections Commission registered only six candidates, all other hopefuls, there were a total of 40 of them, were denied registration, that means that they were denied the right to run in upcoming elections, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily reported. “The reason is all the same for all - an incomplete package of the documents produced for registration,” Chairman of the Moscow City Elections Commission Valentin Gorbunov explained. Meanwhile, this was ‘an incomplete’ package of documents, to put it mildly, as a larger part of hopefuls even did not try to gather the signatures of deputies.
Civic Platform leader Mikhail Prokhorov, who refused to run in the Moscow mayoral elections before, because he did not have enough time to refuse from his foreign financial assets and thus fulfil the requirements of the law that bans people, who hold the public posts, and the candidates for electable posts to have accounts and financial assets abroad, stated on Wednesday that he will not support any concrete candidate.
Navalny’s supporters expect a suspended sentence for him, but the oppositionist believes that he can be arrested in the courtroom and removed from the mayoral race, if the appeal to the verdict is tried quickly, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily reported. Navalny’s nomination for Moscow mayor was accompanied with several theories, but the experts believe that through his nomination the state authorities hope to legitimize the election process, because they are sure of a victory of acting Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.
First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Vyacheslav Volodin said at a meeting with the political experts earlier that the Russian leadership ceased to be afraid of registration of the oppositionists at the elections. The newspaper reported that he praised Sobyanin for the aid to Navalny with the signup campaign, recommending use this method of election campaign in other regions.
On Thursday evening, a people’s meeting in support of Alexei Navalny is planned in Moscow. This format of the protest action, following the example of the regions, is gaining popularity in the Russian capital. People are invited to go on the Red Square without any posters and symbols as a sign of solidarity with the figurants of all political cases. The observers predict that several thousand people will come for a protest action, as the previous protest rally, which was timed to the start of the Kirovles criminal case, gathered exactly this number of people.