On Saturday, July 24, the Communist Party of Russian Federation (KPRF) protested the central election commission’s decision to exclude Pavel Grudinin from the list of candidates nominated by the party for the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled to take place in September. The election commission reportedly barred Grudinin from the elections “on the basis of information from the Prosecutor General’s Office about the ownership of foreign financial instruments.” Candidates are not allowed to have any accounts or company shares abroad. PN Grudinin refuted the claims by the election commission and KPRF leader Gennady Zyuganov slammed the election commission’s decision as “shameless, petty, dirty reprisal.”
The rejection of Grudinin’s candidature has been widely seen as part of the continued persecution which started when he left the incumbent United Russia party in 2010. Pavel Grudinin is a Russian entrepreneur who has started his political career with the Unity Party and became a deputy to Moscow Oblast Duma in 1997 and joined the United Russia party led by the incumbent Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2007.
Following his exit from the United Russia, Grudinin cooperated with KPRF, but the state authorities and United Russia dominated local councils challenged his participation in the local representative body of Vidnoye city in 2019 February and in the Russian parliament as a deputy of KPRF in 2019 March, accusing him of having foreign accounts. In the 2018 Russian presidential election, Pavel Grudinin contested against the incumbent Vladimir Putin and secured a distant second place with 11.76% of the total votes. Since 1995, he has been the general director of Lenin State Farm, a former co-operative in southern Moscow.
On July 24, KPRF leader Gennady Zyganov stated that the party”categorically” disagrees with attempts to exclude Pavel Grudinin from the list. According to him, if such a decision is taken, it will be “absolutely illegal, illegal and abnormal. In my opinion, today the issue is not being decided on the registration of this or that candidate, the issue is being resolved on the principle — are we able to preserve the foundations of democracy? Can we hold the elections normally?” Zyuganov asked.
KPRF announced that it will appeal the decision in the Supreme Court. The party also said that if needed the party is ready to take the issue to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).