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18 May, 2021 15:59

Russian parliament votes through ban on candidates linked to ‘extremist groups,’ as court mulls designation for Navalny campaign

Russian parliament votes through ban on candidates linked to ‘extremist groups,’ as court mulls designation for Navalny campaign

A bill that would prohibit would-be politicians with links to ‘extremist’ groups from standing for office has been waved through its first reading in Russia’s national parliament, as part of efforts to limit foreign interference.

The draft law will need to pass several more legislative hurdles before it can be signed into force by President Vladimir Putin. If passed, it would ban people who had held leadership positions in organizations handed the designation by a court from running in elections for five years after the decision was issued.

Others who had previously worked for or supported such organizations within a year of the designation would also be affected. Even those groups that had been liquidated prior to a court decision would be affected, with anyone deemed to have led them within the three years prior potentially facing a ban.

Also on rt.com Russian opposition figure Navalny’s political network dissolved by aides ahead of possible ‘extremist organization’ designation

The initiative was supported by 293 MPs, while 45 – primarily representatives of the Communist Party – voted to reject it. At the end of April, the political operation of jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny was disbanded by his aides, and a court is currently considering whether it is eligible for the ‘extremist’ designation. A statement from the Moscow prosecutors’ office said that, “under the guise of liberal slogans, these organizations are engaged in creating conditions for destabilizing the social and socio-political situation.”

READ MORE: Moscow prosecutors order suspension of jailed Alexey Navalny’s political operations ahead of possible ‘extremism’ court ruling

Leonid Volkov, one of Navalny’s most prominent supporters, said, “It is impossible to work under these conditions. We’re officially dissolving Navalny’s network of headquarters.” The court had previously ordered it to suspend all operations while the case was ongoing.

Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund, already registered as a ‘foreign agent’ by the country’s Ministry of Justice, which reports that it has links to funding from overseas, is also being investigated as part of the proceedings, and could also receive the ‘extremist’ designation.

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