Navalny Won’t Be Removed From Elections; Given Verbal Warning

August 26, 2013
Alexei Navalny, the Chairman of the Opposition Coordinating Council, is running for Moscow Mayor | Photo: Alexander Miridonov/Kommersant

Opposition candidate for Moscow’s mayor, Alexei Navalny, was arrested over the weekend while speaking to voters. Even before this, however, he was under investigation for using “illegal campaign materials.” The house of one of his supporters was raided, and Navalny has been issued a verbal warning, but Navalny’s camp claims that, so far, no public evidence has been disclosed that proves that his campaign has done anything wrong. – Ed

Moscow mayoral candidate Alexei Navalny was issued a verbal warning after a probe of complaints of unlawful campaign materials, RIA Novosti reported, citing the Moscow City Elections Commission.

“We are confident that in the future the candidate [Navalny] will take into account his mistakes and not allow violations of the law on the part of the staff of his campaign headquarters,” a spokesperson for the press service of the Elections Commission announced, adding that Navalny is “a young candidate, inexperienced,” and was running for the first time.

Aside from the verbal warning that violations in the campaign process are not allowed, a working group of the Moscow City Elections Commission intends to draw Navalny’s attention to “the need to observe the law in preparing campaign materials,” said Anton Timchenko, a member of the commission with a consultative vote. According to Timchenko, the working group emphasized several times that there were not sufficient grounds to remove Navalny from the elections via the courts.

Navalny’s campaign staff are not planning to appeal the verbal warning by the Elections Commission which was issued 23 August to his address. “We’re regarding it calmly, we will not appeal it,” Leonid Volkov, head of Navalny’s campaign staff told Interfax. In Volkov’s opinion, there were no grounds for the complaints to the Elections Commission about Navalny. “Their only purpose was to create noise. As soon as it comes down to legal work, then everything turns into nothing,” Volkov emphasized.

Earlier it was reported that the Elections Commission working group had to review within several days a complaint against Navalny, submitted by Nikolai Levichev, his rival from Just Russi, based on evidence of illegal campaign materials. Levichev accused Navalny of distributing illegal campaign materials which led to drilling open the door to an apartment where, in Levichev’s opinion, Navalny’s underground campaign headquarters was located.

But as it turned out, there was nothing to take Navalny to court over: there were no documented confirmations that the campaign materials were made at his request. Moreover, under the law, an established fact of preparation of campaign materials costing a sum of more than 10 million rubles outside of the campaign fund can be grounds for cancellation of a candidate’s registration. But in the apartment on Chistoprudny Boulevard, campaign materials were found valued only at one million rubles, the Elections Commission told Interfax.