The television channel Moscow 24 has refused to air a campaign ad from Moscow mayoral candidate Nikolai Levichev, Izvestiya reports. As the official refusal states, the commercial does not meet the requirements of election legislation.
Alla Alekseyeva, a lawyer for Just Russia announced that the video had not aired, since Moscow 24 believed that the Just Russia members were disseminating “information that could foster the creation of a negative attitude of voters to another candidate.”
“Our candidate is the only one there. Which one of those two matryoshka dolls does the TV channel consider a registered candidate?” Alekseyeva commented in an interview with Izvestiya.
Alekseyeva said that the campaign headquarters had vowed to get the ad on the air.
Just Russia had wanted to place the ad on the TV channel for a fee. In the ad, Nikolai Levichev describes the destruction of the historical center of Moscow and criticizes another candidate, acting Mayor Serge Sobyanin (without mentioning his name) for proposing to develop preserved zones without approval from Moscow City Heritage. At the beginning of the ad, Levichev picks up a matryoshka with Sobyanin’s picture and then removes its top half. Inside the matryoshka doll is another one with the label “monuments.”
Yevgeny Kolyushin, a member of the Central Elections Commission told Izvestiya that Moscow 24 was right to refuse to air the campaign video. Moreover, according to Andrei Buzin, a member of the Moscow City Elections Commission, “this is illegal.” “Moscow 24 believed this was criticism of Sobyanin. But the determination of whether it was criticism or not is only within the jurisdiction of the court, and not the TV channel,” he emphasized.
Elections for mayor of Moscow will take place on 8 September. Besides Sobyanin and Levichev, opposition member Alexei Navalny, communist Ivan Melnikov, Yabloko leader Serge Mitrokhin and Liberal Democratic Party of Russia representative Mikhail Degtyarev will take part.