Candidates were placed in unequal conditions when collecting signatures in their support. This conclusion was made by the experts of the GOLOS Movement. They analysed the stage of collecting signatures for the Presidential Election campaign of the Russian Federation, which will be held on 18 March 2018.
An obvious advantage was with the incumbent President Vladimir Putin. We recorded cases of administrative pressure, coercion of officials and state employees to participate in the President’s subscription campaign. In addition, other candidates were refused if they tried to obtain permission to collect signatures where Putin’s collectors did it.
Opening of the “student headquarters” of Putin’s supporters in universities is, in our view, questionable in terms of legislation on elections and education. At the same time, GOLOS reminds that educational institutions are now obliged not to refuse other candidates in such events if they wish to hold them.
However, only a few of the candidates began to conduct a real election campaign. Politician Alexei Navalny, whom was refused the registration, was not excluded from political life, though. He called on his supporters to actively boycott the elections, ie to refuse to vote, but take part in monitoring the elections. GOLOS recalls that such a position does not contradict the law and reminds of the principles of voluntariness to participate in elections.
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