Crimean opponents of United Russia party prevented from running in elections
A number of well-known politicians and officials in the Crimea have lost any chance of running in the Crimean parliamentary election on September 14. Radio Svoboda’s Crimean page reports that the Russian Supreme Council has rejected the appeals from former Kerch mayor Oleg Osadchy and former Crimean MP Oleg Zubkov. The Crimean Court of Appeal had previously ordered their names to be withdrawn from the candidate list in connection with law suits brought by members of the United Russia party.
Analysts believe that the ruling party is trying to ensure a monopoly on power after the elections – as it basically has in Russia.
Osadchy’s name was taken off the candidate list at the beginning of August with United Russia candidate Alexander Kotovksy going to court claiming that there were numerous mistakes in the signature lists needed to register as a candidate. The Russian Supreme Court upheld the original ruling in favour of Kotovsky.
Observers say that Osadchy had a very good chance of getting in. Osadchy told Radio Svoboda that the Supreme Court’s ruling had not surprised him and was worryingly careful with his language, more or less stating that the SC would not taken such a decision without cause. Although he suggested that certain candidates could have influence the Supreme Court ruling, but avoided naming names.
Oleg Zubkov’s situation was only slightly different, but he is more open in expressing grievance.
The Supreme Court has yet to review the appeal against the removal from the candidate list of former speaker of the Crimean Parliament Anatoly Gryshchenko.
Crimean politicial analyst Dmitry Omelchuk noted the professional work done by United Russia’s lawyers to find the right things to catch hold of.
They probably have experience since elections have been run this way for a significant part of Vladimir Putin’s time in power, with most real opposition figures in Russia being removed on spurious grounds.