2019 Moscow City Duma election

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2019 Moscow City Duma election
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Election to the 7th convocation of the Moscow City Duma will take place on the United Voting Day on September 8, 2019. The elections are to be held in first-past-the-post system: 45 deputies to be elected in 45 single-member constituencies. The term of the new Duma will be five years.

Background and preparations[edit]

Moscow constituencies

The Moscow City Election Commission organizes 3,616 polling stations, of which 3,440 - at the places of residence, 176 - at places of temporary residence (hospitals, sanatoriums, places of temporary detention of suspects and accused, and other places of temporary stay).[1][2]

Candidates for registration must collect voter signatures in their support in the amount of 3% of all constituency voters (from 4,500 to 5,500 signatures). However, regardless of whether a candidate has enough valid signatures, a candidate will not be on the ballot if more than 10% of the signatures are considered flawed by the Moscow City Election Commission (MCEC).[3][4][5]

Candidates nominated by political parties represented in the State Duma (United Russia, CPRF, LDPR, A Just Russia) could nominate their candidates without collecting signatures. However, United Russia did not formally nominate any candidates. Its supporters will go to the polls as independents because of low ratings of the party.[6][7] In order for as few United Russia 'independent' candidates as possible to go to the Moscow City Duma, Alexey Navalny launched the “Smart Vote” project, calling for voting for the strongest candidates among those who are not members of United Russia.[8] On July 26, 2019, the "Liberal Mission" Foundation published a report entitled “Results of the nomination and registration at the elections of deputies of the Moscow City Duma on September 8, 2019”. According to the authors of the report Alexander Kenev, Arkady Lyubarev and Andrey Maximov, the results of registration of candidates for the MCD indicate electoral commission's inadequacy and injustice, suggesting that there was an unequal approach and even discrimination in the process of registering candidates.[9]

Constituencies[edit]

The current constituencies' boundaries were adopted on 30 April 2014.[10] According to independent experts, they contain marks of gerrymandering.[11]

The list of constituencies and candidates.[12][13][14][15] In central, southwestern and northwestern constituencies the independent opposition candidates had strong chances[16] (see also 2013 Moscow mayoral election, districts where Navalny had good results), in most of other constituencies the strongest opponent is a CPRF candidate.[13][14][15] However, some strong candidates, even nominated by political parties represented in the State Duma, were excluded from the race. In constituencies 43 and 44 there is no pro-United Russia candidates. Positive articles about pro-United Russia candidates began to appear in district newspapers six months before the official start of the race, thus allowing to identify them.[17][18] Pro-United Russia candidates received 800 mln rubles (~12.5 mln USD) from funds affiliated with United Russia for their campaigns.[19]

voters required signatures pro-United Russia candidate strongest opponent opponent's affiliation opponent's status
1 170190 5106 Andrey Titov Ivan Ulyanchenko CPRF registered (party nomination)
2 174313 5230 Svetlana Volovets Gennady Gudkov independent, Gudkov's team rejected (more than 10% signatures flawed)
3 177162 5315 Sabina Tsvetkova Timur Abushaev CPRF excluded ("-" instead of "don't have" in the column "foreign property")[20]
4 175445 5264 Maria Kiseleva Zoya Shargatova independent, green rejected (more than 10% signatures flawed)
5 177149 5315 Roman Babayan Dmitry Gudkov independent, Gudkov's team rejected (more than 10% signatures flawed)
6 173647 5210 Mikhail Balykhin Evgeny Bunimovich [ru] independent, Yabloko registered (signatures accepted)
7 171081 5133 Nadezhda Perfilova Piotr Zvagintsev CPRF registered (party nomination)
8 176983 5310 Ekaterina Kopeikina Ivan Zhdanov independent, Navalny's team rejected (more than 10% signatures flawed)
9 173117 5194 Andrey Medvedev Yulia Galyamina independent, Yabloko rejected (more than 10% signatures flawed)
10 176136 5285 Larisa Kartavtseva Yuri Dashkov CPRF registered (party nomination)
11 175532 5266 Evgeny Nifantiev Andrey Babushkin independent, Yabloko rejected (more than 10% signatures flawed)
12 155980 4680 Alexey Shaposhnikov Alexander Efimov CPRF registered (party nomination)
13 166862 5006 Igor Buskin Alexander Potapov CPRF registered (party nomination)
14 172217 5167 Natalya Pochinok Sergey Tsukasov independent, sup. CPRF excluded ("-" instead of "don't have" in the column "foreign property")[21]
15 145155 4355 Andrey Metelsky Sergey Savostyanov CPRF registered (party nomination)
16 145474 4361 Anton Molev Alexandra Andreeva CPRF registered (party nomination)
17 145676 4371 Anastasiya Tatulova Victor Maximov CPRF registered (party nomination)
18 145147 4355 Nikolay Tabashnikov Elena Yanchuk CPRF registered (party nomination)
19 145340 4361 Irina Nazarova Oleg Sheremetiev CPRF registered (party nomination)
20 147832 4435 Maxim Shingarkin Evgeny Stupin CPRF registered (party nomination)
21 156741 4703 Vera Shevchenko Leonid Zyuganov CPRF registered (party nomination)
22 152760 4583 Inna Svyatenko Dmitry Saraev CPRF registered (party nomination)
23 149075 4473 Elena Nikolaeva Elena Gulicheva CPRF registered (party nomination)
24 176256 5288 Igor Dyagilev Pavel Tarasov CPRF registered (party nomination)
25 148276 4449 Lyudmila Stebenkova Andrey Orel CPRF registered (party nomination)
26 147175 4416 Kirill Shchitov Andrey Ispolatov CPRF registered (party nomination)
27 152197 4566 Stepan Orlov Alexey Dryga CPRF registered (party nomination)
28 150374 4512 Elena Samyshina Konstantin Lazarev CPRF registered (party nomination)
29 149589 4488 Oleg Artemyev Nikolay Sergeev CPRF registered (party nomination)
30 159827 4795 Margarita Rusetskaya Vladislav Zhukovsky CPRF registered (party nomination)
31 148433 4453 Sergey Zverev Konstantin Yankauskas independent, Navalny's team rejected (more than 10% signatures flawed)
32 149141 4475 Olga Melnikova Klim Likhachev CPRF registered (party nomination)
33 176224 5287 Lyudmila Guseva Levon Smirnov CPRF registered (party nomination)
34 166292 4989 Alexander Semennikov Yulia Gladkova CPRF registered (party nomination)
35 175756 5273 Natalya Metlina Sergey Vasiliev A Just Russia registered (party nomination)
36 145107 4354 Olga Sharapova Sergey Kurgansky CPRF registered (party nomination)
37 174072 5223 Alexander Romanovich Elena Rusakova independent, Yabloko rejected (more than 10% signatures flawed)
38 174943 5249 Alexander Kozlov Lyudmila Eremina CPRF registered (party nomination)
39 155001 4651 Valeriy Golovchenko Alexander Vidmanov CPRF registered (party nomination)
40 170305 5110 Tatiana Batysheva Igor Sukhanov CPRF registered (party nomination)
41 162735 4883 Evgeny Gerasimov Olga Frolova CPRF registered (party nomination)
42 160090 4803 Kirill Nikitin Anastasia Bryukhanova independent, Yabloko rejected (more than 10% signatures flawed)
43 149685 4491 Anna Federmesser (withdrew) Lyubov Sobol independent, Navalny's team rejected (more than 10% signatures flawed)
44 159496 4785 none Elena Shuvalova CPRF registered (party nomination)
45 150228 4507 Valeria Kasamara Ilya Yashin independent, Navalny's team rejected (more than 10% signatures flawed)

Political crisis[edit]

Moscow rally in support of opposition candidates for the Moscow City Duma. July 27, 2019.
Moscow rally in support of opposition candidates for the Moscow City Duma. July 27, 2019.
Moscow rally in support of opposition candidates for the Moscow City Duma. July 27, 2019.
Moscow rally in support of opposition candidates for the Moscow City Duma. July 27, 2019.

Rejection of opposition candidacies[edit]

After the verification of the signatures collected by the candidates, the Moscow City Election Commission (MCEC) refused to register most of independent opposition candidates. The claimed reason was the high percentage of rejected signatures (exceeding permissible reject rate is 10%). Independent candidates accused the MCEC of forgery in verifying signatures aimed at prohibiting the opposition to participate in elections. During the verification some personal data of the signers was entered with errors. In addition, a significant part of the signatures was invalidated on the grounds of a so-called handwriting examination, which scientific validity and impartiality the candidates questioned. The candidates submitted to the MCEC statements confirming the validity of signatures from signatories, whose signatures were rejected on the grounds of handwriting examination. The candidates also submitted to the MCEC an opinion of professional handwriting experts on the insolvency of the MCEC examination. Despite this, the MCEC did not change the decision. In protest, one of the candidates, Lyubov Sobol, went on a hunger strike on July 13.[3][4][5]

On the other hand, the MCEC registered 32 candidates from Communists of Russia party, which has very low popularity (during 2016 election to the State Duma it collected 2%). This party is regarded by experts as a spoiler for CPRF.[22] These candidates are almost unknown in Moscow, mostly students, housewives and low-skilled workers.[23][24] According to the MCEC, these 32 unknown candidates managed to collect the necessary signatures. However, Muscovites did not see any signature collectors for the candidates from Communists of Russia or pro-United Russia 'independent' candidates in the streets of their city.[25] Later, an opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta revealed that the same headquarters coordinates the actions of candidates from Communists of Russia and pro-United Russia 'independents'.[26]

On July 14, 17 independent candidates met with supporters in Novopushkinsky Square. After that they went to the City Hall and finally to Mokhovaya Street to the MCEC building. Candidates demanded to accept signatures in their support and to allow them to participate in the election. The Police and the National Guard initially acted politely, but later they began to break up tents in the yard of the MCEC and to detain the protestors.[27][28] According to the OVD-Info portal, by the evening 39 people were detained, including candidates Ilya Yashin, Lyubov Sobol, Ivan Zhdanov and Yulia Galyamina.[29] Four protesters were hospitalized after a hard detention, several activists were beaten by the police.[30] Detained candidates called for supporters to meet again at the MCEC building the next day.[31]

On July 15, 10 candidates arrived to a meeting with the head of the MCEC Gorbunov. The meeting planned to be open, however journalists were not allowed to enter the MCEC building and Gorbunov set several conditions: he would talk with the candidates one by one in a closed format only. Only 3 candidates accepted these conditions.[32] Later nine candidates were denied registration.[33] Then, Ilya Yashin announced that the MCEC removed him from the elections due to the allegedly exceeding the allowable number of false signatures and refused to accept written confirmations of the so-called "wrong" signatories.[34] In the evening of the same day, several hundred people gathered at Trubnaya Square for an action for admission of independent candidates to the elections. The candidates called for holding such meetings every day until their requirements were met.[35]

On July 16, most of the independent candidates received registration denials, in particular, Lyubov Sobol, Ivan Zhdanov, Konstantin Yankauskas, Yulia Galyamina, Dmitry Gudkov, Gennady Gudkov, Alexander Solovyov, Sergey Mitrokhin, Elena Rusakova, Kirill Goncharov, Anastasia Bryukhanova. In all cases the reason was the exceeding of the maximum allowable percentage of invalid voter signatures.[36][37] Only a few independent candidates received registration. The action on Trubnaya that day took place despite the heavy rain. There were no detentions.[38]

On July 17, meeting on Trubnaya Square took place again, about 800 people participated.[38] Gorbunov announced results of candidates registration campaign: 233 candidates were registered, 57 got a refusal.[39]

Independent opposition candidates collected more than a thousand official statements from Muscovites, including statements with video, demanding that their signatures be considered valid.[40][41] They continued to conduct daily “For the Right to Choose” actions on Trubnaya Square till Saturday. The MCEC pointed out they are ready to consider the application and re-check the signatures. The PCCSHR recommended to allow independent candidates to participate in the election.[42]

Rally on Sakharov Avenue[edit]

On July 20, a permitted rally was held on Sakharov Avenue with the same requirements. It has become the largest political action in Russia since 2012.[43] According to the “White Counter” organization, over 22 thousand people participated. The main requirement was to admit the independent candidates to the elections. According to the OVD-info, 7 people were detained at the meeting and after it.[44] Alexey Navalny on behalf of all independent candidates put an ultimatum to the Moscow authorities: if all independent candidates are not registered for a week, then an unauthorized rally will take place in front of the Moscow City Hall on Saturday, July 27.[45] Later, Ilya Yashin on behalf of all independent candidates published a joint open letter to Mayor Sobyanin, it contained Navalny's ultimatum, an offer to meet and discuss the situation and a proposal to the PCCSHR to hold an unscheduled meeting and discuss what's happening in Moscow.[46]

Between 20 and 27 July - criminal case, arrests, searches[edit]

On July 23, the CEC head, Ella Pamfilova, held a meeting with independent candidates to discuss the situation and stated that it would be impossible to register all those candidates who collected signatures at the elections.[47] She pointed out that their signatures should be rechecked.[48] Independent candidates sent complaints to the CEC about the refusals of district commissions, but Pamfilova replied that they do not obey the CEC. The candidates remained dissatisfied with the meeting, because the CEC head didn't show any desire to intervene to the situation.[49] On the contrary, Pamfilova blamed Navalny in making obstacles to register the independent candidates.[50]

On the morning of July 24, Alexey Navalny was detained at the entrance of his house. The same evening, he was sentenced to 30 days in administrative arrest for calling for a rally on July 27.[51] The sentence was seemed to be connected with his July 22 publication of a photo of italian permanent residency document belonging to journalist Vladimir Solovyov. Solovyov, in turn, accused Navalny in 'judicial incompetence'[52][53][54]

The Office of the Investigative Committee in Moscow opened a criminal case under article 141 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Hindering the exercise of electoral rights or the work of election commissions”) because of a spontaneous rally near the MCEC.[55] On the evening of July 24, police searched the unregistered candidates Dmitry Gudkov and Ivan Zhdanov. The police also came with searches to Alexander Solovyov and Nikolai Balandin. Ivan Zhdanov after the search was taken for interrogation.[56] Dmitry and Gennady Gudkov, Lyubov Sobol, Elena Rusakova and Yulia Galyamina were also summoned for interrogation.[57][58][59]

On July 25, the MCEC, on the recommendation of the working group on the analysis of candidates' complaints, approved the decisions of the district election commissions to refuse to register candidates Dmitry Gudkov, Ivan Zhdanov, Konstantin Yankauskas, Yulia Serebryanskaya and Konstantin Lisitsa.[60] Lyubov Sobol, after a meeting of the working group on the analysis of candidates' complaints, which decided to reject her complaint about the refusal of registration, announced that she would continue the hunger strike right in the building of the MCEC, waiting for Ella Pamfilova. At midnight, the guards of the MCEC pulled out a sofa on which Lyubov Sobol was sitting, in order to “shake out bedbugs and parasites”.[61] This was stated by a member of the election commission Dmitry Reut.[62]

On July 26, the MCEC approved the refusals to register Lyubov Sobol, Andrei Babushkin, Elena Rusakova and Ekaterina Ignatova.[63] The Moscow prosecutor’s office put 15 candidates for deputies of the Moscow City Duma under an administrative investigation, most of whom were not registered in the elections, due to calls for an unauthorized mass rally planned for July 27.[64] On the evening of July 26, searches were conducted at the headquarters of Lyubov Sobol, Ivan Zhdanov, Ilya Yashin, Dmitry Gudkov and Yulia Galyamina. Night searches were also held in the apartments of Konstantin Yankauskas’s parents and 80-years-old grandmother, at the address of registered candidate Klochkov and registered candidate Daria Besedina.[65] After the search, which ended at 1 a.m., Yashin was detained.[66]

On the morning of July 27, searches were conducted at the apartments of Yulia Galyamina and Navalny's press secretary Kira Yarmysh.[67]

July 27 rally in Moscow[edit]

The Constitution of the Russian Federation allows peaceful assemblies of citizens without any approval (Article 31), but the Law on rallies adopted in 2004 requires their approval by the authorities. De jure, this order should be informative, but de facto it is prohibitive. Therefore, many lawyers consider the actions of the authorities to prohibit and disperse the July 27 rally and other similar rallies as a flagrant violation of the Russian constitution (for example, see Strategy-31). July 27 rally was not approved by the authorities, and police had warned of responsibility for organizing and participating in unapproved public events.[68]

On the morning July 27, police detained protest leaders Ivan Zhdanov, Lyubov Sobol, Dmitry Gudkov, Ilya Yashin, and Yulia Galyamina.[69] They were imprisoned until 6.40 - 6.50 pm. The rally should have started at 2 p.m. However, at 12 a.m., 2 hours before the start, the police had already detained the first person - a jogger (who turned up to be the author of MosMetro new logo), which has been doing his morning run. During arrest, policemen broke his leg.[70] Later, the ICR stated that police actions were lawful in this case.[71] Metal fences, buses, and lorries blocked the entrance on Tverskaya Street. Mobile connection was blocked.[72] All shops and cafes in the area of Tverskaya Street and Pushkinskaya Square were closed "due to technical reasons". As it was revealed later, police and National Guard troops were dispatched from neighboring oblasts: Vladimir, Kaluga, Ryazan, Tver, Tula, Smolensk, Yaroslavl and Moscow.[a][73] Besides that, the police had 'civil' agents among the protestors.[74]

Russian Guard forced out protesters from Tverskaya Street in the alleys by 4 p.m. After that, the protesters divided into small groups of 300-1000 people and walked through the whole center Moscow for several hours, shouting demands for registration of candidates to the Moscow City Duma and the resignation of Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin. One of these groups blocked the traffic on the Garden Ring for several minutes. Among protesters, there was no prominent opposition politicians, and groups marched without obvious leaders[75]

At 5 p.m., the police knocked out the door to the studio of the channel "Navalny LIVE" and conducted a search. Broadcast host Vladimir Milov and four channel employees were detained.[76] A few minutes later, the police came to the editorial office of the Dozhd channel, and handed to the editor-in-chief Perepelova a writ to interrogation as a witness in a criminal case on obstructing the work of the MCEC.[77]

Between 6.40 and 6.50 p.m., the judges in different parts of Moscow suddenly began to postpone the hearings on the cases of the candidates detained in the morning, thus making them free. Once free, they headed to Trubnaya Square, where protesters gathered. There they all were detained again,[78] except for Dmitry Gudkov, who was detained the next day.[79]

By 8 p.m., police dispersed people from Trubnaya Square. The total number of detainees was 1074 people according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs[80] and 1373 people according to "OVD-Info".[81] The rally established a record for the number of detainees.[82] The police acted harshly: they used batons and set service dogs.[83] Dozens of people suffered.[84]

State owned media completely ignored the rally.[85] International media reported many detainees.[86][87]

Due to the fact that the crowd was originally divided into several parts, it is hard to estimate the size of the rally. An official estimate of 3,500[88] participants seems completely unrealistic given that 1,373 were detained. Independent sources give an estimation of 15-20 thousand participants.[89]

Starting from July 27, 2019, election campaign turned into criminal investigation environment.[90]

International reaction[edit]

The EU condemned numerous detentions and disproportionate use of force and called Russia to respect its OSCE commitments and other international obligations.[91]

The PACE expressed deep concern at the arrest and detention of hundreds of people.[92]

The US condemned detentions more than 100 people and disproportionate use of force.[93]

The UK expressed a deep concern about detentions and called Russia to comply with its international commitments on human rights.[94]

Germany called police actions "violent".[95]

Canada expressed deep concern and called to refrain from violence.[96]

France called for release of all detainees.[97]

China condemned foreign meddling in Russia's internal affairs and has voiced support for the Russian government maintaining law and order.[98]

Government response to July 27 rally[edit]

Only on the evening of July 28 Russian state owned media broke the silence about protests. State owned media didn't make their own video from the rally, they used short fragments from channel Dozhd's video and from Twitter. Official point of view was presented by journalist Vladimir Solovyov in his TV show "Sunday evening".[99] He claimed that independent candidates didn't use legal appeals, claimed that 20% of participants of protests were journalists, praised Police for 'acting politely, unlike in France' and called protestors 'very aggressive'. Solovyov also blamed demonstrators on 'disrupting road traffic' and 'blocking ambulance'. He accused organizers of protests in 'attempt of overthrowing of constitutional order' and 'violating the law'

On July 30, Moscow Mayor Sobyanin commented on the situation.[100] He accused protesters in igniting riots, attempting to take over Moscow City Hall and 'forcing police to use force'. He also stated that protesters wanted to 'come to power through loud shout like in Zimbabwe'.[101]

Member of the Civic Chamber of Moscow and editor-in-chief of Echo of Moscow Alexei Venediktov replied Sobyanin that none of his points is true.[102]

Later the PCCSHR found no evidence of civil discorder during th July 27 rally.[103]

Other comments[edit]

Tina Kandelaki called protestors to "go to Siberia and fight the wildfire".[104] Why the official authorities do nothing about the wildfire, and some even state that "nothing should be done about that",[105] she didn't specify.

During the rally a policeman hit a woman, which caused a severe bloody wound on her head.[106] She started to smear the policeman, who hit her, with her blood. Margarita Simonyan commented on this situation: "I know people who would pay a lot to be engaged in such a perverted sex".[107]

More severe criminal charges against protesters (27 July case)[edit]

Many protesters and bystanders have been arrested. Some have been charged with offenses that carry possible long prison terms. Financial Times reports: "In Mr Zhukov’s case, the evidence of him using 'violence' is a video in which he tries to lift up a riot policeman’s helmet visor, according to Pavel Chikov, head of public defence NGO Agora."[108]

A list of some of the heavily-charged detainees from July 27, 2019 onwards.[109][110][111][112][113][114][115]

Name Age Date of detention Article of the Criminal Code Possible punishment Note
1 Evgeny Kovalenko 48 27 Jul 2019 Art. 212 Clause 2
Art. 318
3–8 years imprisonment
Up to 10 years imprisonment
man throwing a trash can on the video[83]
2 Vladislav Barabanov 22 27 Jul 2019 Art. 212 Clause 2 3–8 years imprisonment charged with an organizing the movement of protesters[116]
3 Ivan Podkopaev 25 31 Jul 2019 Art. 212 Clause 2 3–8 years imprisonment brought a small hammer and a knife to the rally in a backpack[117]
4 Samariddin Rajabov 21 31 Jul 2019 Art. 212 Clause 2 3–8 years imprisonment threw a plastic bottle to a policeman[118]

went on a hunger strike since August 6[118]

5 Alexey Minyaylo 34 1 Aug 2019 Art. 212 Clause 1
Art. 212 Clause 2
Art. 212 Clause 3
8–15 years imprisonment
3–8 years imprisonment
Up to 2 years imprisonment
charged with an organizing of the illegal rally[119]
6 Kirill Zhukov 28 1 Aug 2019 Art. 212 Clause 2
Art. 318
3–8 years imprisonment
Up to 10 years imprisonment[120]
tried to raise the visor on the helmet of a policeman[121]
went on a hunger strike since August 2[122]
7 Egor Zhukov 21 2 Aug 2019 Art. 212 Clause 2 3–8 years imprisonment[123] published a youtube video with criticism of

police actions during the 27 July rally[124]

8 Sergey Abanichev 25 3 Aug 2019 Art. 212 Clause 2 3–8 years imprisonment threw a paper cup towards a policeman[125]
9 Daniil Konon 22 3 Aug 2019 Art. 212 Clause 2 3–8 years imprisonment charged with an organizing the movement of protesters
10 Aidar Gubaydullin 26 8 Aug 2019 Art. 212 Clause 2 3–8 years imprisonment aimed to hit the policeman with the bottle (but didn't hit him)[126]
11 Sergey Fomin 36 8 Aug 2019 Art. 212 Clause 2 3–8 years imprisonment charged with an organizing the movement of protesters[127]
12 Danila Beglets 27 8 Aug 2019 Art. 212 Clause 2 3–8 years imprisonment pushed a policeman[128]
13 Dmitry Vasiliev 43 9 Aug 2019 Art. 212 Clause 2 3–8 years imprisonment diabetic, the interrogator did not allow insulin,

was hospitalized in serious condition[129][130]

14 Valery Kostenok 20 11 Aug 2019 Art. 212 Clause 2 3–8 years imprisonment threw bottles towards policemen[131]

Between July 27 and August 3[edit]

The opposition submitted a request for a rally on 3 August on Lubyanka Square. The authorities offered Sakharov Avenue instead. Opposition representatives didn't agree. On July 30, after some negotiations opposition representative, Mikhail Svetov, was arrested immediately after leaving the City Hall.[132] The next day he was imprisoned for 30 days.[133] The only opposition leader at liberty, Lyubov Sobol, called for a peaceful procession along the Boulevard Ring.[134] The police warned that this procession is not approved and called to refrain from participating in it.[135]

On July 31, the free fest "Shashlyk.live" in Gorky Park was announced on 3 August, the same day as unapproved procession.[136] However several bands refused to participate in it "due to unstable political situation".[137] The authorities claimed that 305.000 people visited the fest,[138] yet this number seems unrealistic.[139] Independent sources reported about 1500 spectators at once.[140] The official numbers have become a meme.[140]

Starting from July 31, the independent candidates begin to submit registration denial complaints to the CEC.[141]

On 1 August, the FBK published an investigation of the vice-mayor Natalya Sergunina's property. Sergunina is responsible for the election process in Moscow. The FBK estimates Sergunina's (along with close relatives) undeclared real estate value at 6.5 billion rub (~100 mln USD).[142][143] On 3 August, the ICR opened a criminal case against the FBK on laundering 1 billion rub (~15.5 mln USD).[144]

August 3 rallies[edit]

Moscow[edit]

As in the previous case, potential leaders, Sobol[145] and Yankauskas[146] (his previous detention expired on August 3) were detained before the start of the rally. Lyubov Sobol was fined 300 000 rub (~4700 USD).[145] The rally started at 2 p.m. and had multiple points of activity: Pushkinskaya Square, Trubnaya Square, Turgenevskaya Square and Arbat Street.[147][148] These sites were blocked by the police, which started to detain people from the beginning of the rally.[148] According to OVD-info, 1001 people were detained, at least 19 people suffered.[149][147] According to the police, "around 600" people were detained.[150] Some former Berkut officers from Ukraine were noticed among the police at the rally.[151]

Due to the fact that the rally had multiple centers, it is hard to estimate the size of the rally. The police estimates the rally of 1500 people,[147] what seems doubtful given the fact that 1001 were detained. Independent sources give an estimation of 5-20 thousand participants.[152][153]

State owned media didn't broadcast the rally. International media reported many detainees and police violence.[154][155][156]

During the rally, authorities carried out a targeted Internet shutdown in the center of Moscow. The three largest mobile operators tried to explain the lack of mobile Internet to be a result of "overcrowding", but their arguments were untenable.[157]

Saint Petersburg[edit]

Saint Petersburg rally in support of opposition candidates for the Moscow City Duma. Aug 2, 2019.

Rally in support of the Moscow independent candidates in Saint Petersburg was approved by the authorities.[158] Nevertheless, the prosecutor's office warned of responsibility for participation in an unapproved rally.[159] Still, only 2 participants were detained during the rally. The police estimates the rally of 1000 participants,[160] independent sources estimate the rally of 2000 people.[161]

Small meetings in support of the Moscow opposition also took place in Berlin[162] and Paris.[163]

Between August 3 and August 10 - Denial of complaints by the CEC[edit]

On August 6, the CEC confirmed the refusal of registration to Alexander Rudenko, Dmitry Gudkov, Lyubov Sobol and Elena Rusakova.[164] On August 9, the CEC confirmed the refusal to register Ilya Yashin and Anastasia Bryukhanova. In all cases the CEC used the same argumentation as the MCEC.[165] The CEC member Nikolai Levichev pointed out that the opposition candidates "should consider that the requirements for them are higher".[166]

On August 6, a Levada Center opinion poll was published, according to which 37% of Muscovites support actions in support of the independent candidates, 27% spoke out against.[167]

On August 6, all candidates, nominated by the CPRF, called for the admission of all opposition candidates, as well as double-checking the signatures of candidates from the "Communists of Russia" and those supported by "United Russia".[168]

On August 8, as in the previous case, the authorities announced a free concert on August 10 as part of the Meat & Beat festival in Gorky Park.[169] But there were very few spectators on it.[170][171]

On August 8 and 9, the opposition candidates and several musicians,[172] bloggers[173] and other cultural figures[174] called to participate in the August 10 rally on Sakharov Avenue.[175] The rally was approved by the authorities.[176]

August 10 rallies[edit]

Moscow rally in support of opposition candidates for the Moscow City Duma. Aug 10, 2019.

Moscow[edit]

Before the start of the rally, Lyubov Sobol was detained again on the grounds of a complaint "by the organizers of the rally against her and some other participants who were preparing provocations."[177] The organizers of the rally denied this information.[178] Also, the police conducted a search in "Navalny LIVE" alternate studio.[179] On August 12 Lyubov Sobol fined 300 000 rub (~4700 USD),[180] and on August 13 she was again fined 300 000 rub (~4700 USD).[181]

Despite the rain and cold weather, the rally started at 2 p.m. Not only the opposition politicians spoke at the rally, but also musicians (for example, Oxxxymiron, IC3PEAK, FACE) and other famous people (for example, Leonid Parfenov, Yury Dud).[182] The authorities tried to ban the performance of musicians, but they ignored the ban.[183] After the authorized rally was over, some of the participants went to Presidential Administration building, but were attacked by the police and scattered; 256 people[184] were detained.[185][186] Again, some cases of police violence reported. For example, on Zabelin Street a policeman hit a young woman into stomach,[187] and this case had a wide resonance.[188]

The August 10 rally on Sakharov Avenue outnumbered the July 27 rally. According to the police, 20 thousand people participated. According to the “White Counter” organization, 50 thousand people passed though the main entrance, people entered from boulevards nearby were not counted.[189] Other independent sources report 50-60 thousand participants.[190]

State owned media wrote that rally was "unsuccessful", "small in number", only 30% of the spectators were muscovites, and most of them didn't know the rally agenda.[191] The official version was heavily critisied due to lack of evidence.[192] For example, a poll, conducted by Vedomosti newspaper, shows that 80% of the spectators are Muscovites, and 17% - from Moscow Oblast.[193] International media wrote about 'largest rally since 2011' and new detentions.[194][195][196]

On August 10, 2019 Roskomnadzor demanded that Google stop the Youtube users from promoting videos about unauthorized protests in Russia.[197]

Other cities[edit]

In the Far East and Siberia in the morning before the Moscow rally pickets of solidarity with Moscow took place: Khabarovsk, Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Kemerovo, Tomsk.[198] Pickets also took place in many large cities in central Russia: St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Samara, Ufa, Rostov-on-Don, Voronezh, Perm, Krasnodar, Orenburg, Belgorod, Cheboksary, Izhevsk, Yaroslavl, Bryansk, Ivanovo, Kaliningrad, Kurgan, Syktyvkar, Murmansk, and some other.[199] 79 people in St. Petersburg, 13 in Rostov-on-Don, 2 in Bryansk and 2 in Syktyvkar were detained.[184]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Moscow City and Moscow Oblast are two different federal subjects of Russia.

References[edit]

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