Citing Pressure, Russian Opposition Politician Quits As Head Of Moscow District

By Current Time

RFE/RL's Russian Service

MOSCOW -- Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin has announced he is quitting as head of Moscow's Krasnoselsky district amid ongoing pressure on him and his team after saying he would run in upcoming parliamentary elections.

Yashin wrote on Facebook on July 12 that he made the decision after he was barred from running in the elections and because of politically motivated pressure imposed on him and his associates.

"The prosecutor’s office has shaken our accountant and the team with endless inspections. Our employees spend a significant part of their work time answering queries from law enforcement," said Yashin, who has led the Krasnoselsky district of the Russian capital since 2017.

Yashin added that he will remain a lawmaker for the district.

The district’s new head will be elected on July 27. Yashin wrote on Facebook that his team will nominate lawmaker Yelena Kotyonochkina to the post.

Last month, Yashin said the Electoral Commission had informed him that he had been barred from taking part in September parliamentary elections as he had been recognized as "a person involved in extremist activities" over his support of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, whose network of organizations have been deemed by the authorities as "extremist."

In his July 12 Facebook statement, Yashin, a staunch Kremlin opponent who has been arrested previously for his protest activities, reiterated his intention to appeal the “political decision” to bar him from the upcoming vote in court.

On September 19, Russia will vote to choose members of the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, and 39 regional parliaments, as well as nine regional governors.

In the run-up to the elections, the Kremlin has cracked down -- sometimes brutally -- on opposition political figures and independent media.