Russian Opposition Politician Lev Shlosberg Barred From Elections

Russian opposition politician Lev Shlosberg of the Yabloko party and his colleague Nikolai Kuzmin have been barred from running in upcoming elections for the Pskov regional parliament.

Some politicians in the western Russian region say the decision was made due to Shlosberg and Kuzmin's support for jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, whose network of organizations has been deemed by the authorities as "extremist"

Yabloko said on its Telegram channel on August 3 that the party will provide Shlosberg and Kuzmin with all necessary support.

Also on August 3, a territorial election commission in Moscow registered Shlosberg as a candidate for the parliament's lower chamber, the State Duma.

Shlosberg told the Open Media news outlet that he would appeal the Pskov election commission's decision.

"I do not know if their decision to link me with [Navalny's] Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) can affect my State Duma campaign, where I have been registered at this point. All other facts will be appealed in court," Shlosberg said.

Shlosberg is one of the best-known figures in the liberal Yabloko party and a regional lawmaker who has openly criticized the Russian government for years.

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

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

In June, a Moscow court ruled Navalny’s political network should be labeled “extremist” in what the opposition politician’s team has called a sign of a “truly new level” of lawlessness in the country.

Also in June, Putin endorsed a law that bars leaders and founders of organizations declared extremist or terrorist by Russian courts from running for elective posts for a period of five years. Other members or employees of such organizations face a three-year ban.

The two factors together prevent people associated with Navalny's FBK and his network of regional political offices across Russia from seeking public office. It also carries lengthy prison terms for activists who have worked with the organizations.

With reporting by Dozhd