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Edited by Thomas Christiansen and Christine Neuhold
Chapter 7: Subversive Institutions and Informal Governance in Contemporary Russia
Vladimir Gel’man* INTRODUCTION In September 2009, Vladimir Milov, the former deputy minister of energy of the Russian government and one of the leaders of the oppositional Solidarity movement, declared his candidacy for the Moscow city legislative elections as an independent candidate. According to the electoral law, Milov collected 4,550 signatures of voters of the electoral district No. 13, which was necessary for the official registration of his candidacy, and submitted them to the district electoral commission. But the electoral commission denied Milov’s registration, and declared all signatures of voters (including Milov’s own signature) as legally invalid. Despite numerous appeals by Milov for revision of this verdict in the Central Electoral Commission and the court, the denial of his registration remained unchanged: neither Milov nor his Solidarity colleagues were allowed to run for election. Only six parties gained access to the elections, which were held on 11 October 2009. The lion’s share of votes and seats were designated in advance to the pro-governmental ‘party of power’, United Russia. At the polling station, where the leader of the oppositional party Yabloko Sergei Mitrokhin and his family had voted, United Russia had received 904 out of 1,020 votes, and Yabloko got none. Only after the noisy media scandal and Mitrokhin’s legal claim to recount the votes, did the local electoral commission announce revised results of the voting: while all the Yabloko votes were initially mistakenly transferred to another oppositional entity, the Communist Party of Russia, the number of United Russia votes...
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