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Tue May 25, 2021, 01:40 PM

Russian bill to bar Navalny allies from seeking office

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian lawmakers on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a bill that bars members of groups designated as extremist from running for public office, a measure intended to prevent allies of opposition leader Alexei Navalny from seeking parliament seats.

The Kremlin-controlled lower house, the State Duma, quickly endorsed the bill in a crucial second reading. After three readings, it needs to be approved by the upper house and signed by President Vladimir Putin to become law.

Lawmakers consider the bill while Moscow prosecutors have moved to designate Navalny’s Foundation for Fighting Corruption and his regional offices as extremist groups. Navalny and his allies have denounced the proceedings as a move to stifle critical voices before September's parliamentary election.

Navalny's regional “headquarters,” as his team called them, have been instrumental in implementing the Smart Voting strategy — a project designed to promote candidates who are most likely to defeat those from the Kremlin’s dominant United Russia party in various elections.


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