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At least ten Communist supporters arrested at Moscow protest after former presidential candidate barred from running in election

More than ten supporters of Russia’s Communist Party have been arrested in central Moscow after staging a protest against the authority’s decision to bar a popular politician from running in upcoming parliamentary elections.

Pavel Grudinin, the party’s former presidential candidate, was refused permission to participate after testimony from his ex-wife alleged that he had undeclared foreign assets.

In response, Grudinin’s supporters gathered near the building of the Russian presidential administration for an unauthorized protest. OVD-Info, an opposition-linked rights group that has received Western funding in the past, reported that at least 18 Communist Party supporters were arrested.

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Among those detained are parliamentary candidates Ivan Menshenin and Pavel Ivanov.

On Monday, Russia’s Central Electoral Commission declared that Grudinin had broken the rules about holding foreign assets. According to Russian electoral law, candidates must close accounts located abroad before being nominated and must no longer keep money or valuables in foreign banks located outside the country.

Grudinin, who came second in the 2018 presidential election, is the director of Lenin State Farm, a 2,000-hectare sprawl of land growing fruits and vegetables on the outskirts of Moscow. His considerable personal wealth has not only made him a controversial figure outside the party, but also within, with some Communists believing he is too bourgeois to be its candidate.
Following the decision to bar Grudinin, party leader Gennady Zyuganov slammed the move as “illegal, unlawful and abnormal.” Grudinin himself denies the accusations.

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