26 July 2019
- Kremlin unlikely to reverse decision to ban opposition candidates from Moscow city elections, although move will prompt further protests
- Ongoing harassment and detention of protest organisers will limit scale of demonstrations and restrict opposition momentum
- Government’s restrictive internet legislation will severely hamper opposition’s ability to harness social media to mobilise support, limiting risk of widespread unrest
Over 22,000 people protested in Moscow on 20 July, following five days of smaller demonstrations in response to a decision by the Moscow Election Commission to ban 30 opposition candidates from participating in city council elections scheduled for 8 September. The commission claimed the nominees had failed to gather the signatures required to register as legitimate candidates. In response, figures including Lyubov Sobol and Ilya Yashin – both close allies of opposition leader Aleksey Navalny – accused the commission of deliberately invalidating signatures by adding misprints, and called for further protests to be held outside Moscow City Hall on 27 July if authorities failed to register the individuals.
Candidates intending to participate in polls electing representatives to Moscow’s 45 seat Duma were obliged to register their candidacy with the election commission by 6 July. Electoral legislation requires…
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