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Judge Throws Out Testimony Backing Yabloko Candidates

Published: February 13, 2009 (Issue # 1448)


A judge at the Moskovsky District Court on Wednesday refused to accept testimony from twenty local residents whose signatures backing liberal candidates in the municipal elections scheduled for March 1 had been rejected as being forged or unverifiable.

The judge said that the citizens had no grounds to question the qualifications or judgment of the expert who had declared the signatures unverifiable or forged.

This outrageous decision has destroyed what little hope I had left for what remains of democratic principles and fair trials in Russia, said Tatyana Kondratkova, whose signature was declared false. A human being has fewer rights and gets less respect than the opinion of their signatures expert. Im bewildered. Ive now learnt through personal experience that everything we hear every day from the officials about their respect for the Russian Constitution is nothing but hot air.

Kondratkova and other residents whose testimonies were rejected are preparing an appeal to the City Court, and, if necessary, to the Constitutional Court.

Maxim Reznik, head of the St. Petersburg branch of the democratic party Yabloko said peoples rights are being blatantly and vigorously abused in the current election campaign.

To register for a municipal election, a candidate must provide several dozen signatures from supporters living in the district in which they plan to stand for election. The majority of Yabloko candidates have been denied registration as the result of state experts declaring their supporters signatures to be forgeries.

It only takes a word from an expert. There is no required proof or criteria for deeming a signature fake, so absolutely any signature can be declared unusable in this way, said Reznik.

Of 100 candidates put forward by the Yabloko party for the municipal elections, only 35 have been officially registered. In the meantime, only 0.8 percent of the pro-Kremlin United Russia partys candidates have been denied registration for the elections.

The only plausible explanation for the plight of our candidates is that the district election commissions must have received direct political orders from City Hall to take as many liberals out of the elections as possible, Reznik said. We have always been the biggest troublemakers, asking tough questions and protesting against corrupt decisions. The lawlessness that reigns in Russia allows officials to pursue their vendettas against political opponents.

Activists from the St. Petersburg branch of Yabloko are organizing a protest event on Saturday at 5 p.m. outside the Yunost cinema at Chernaya Rechka metro station to voice their outrage at a wide series of infringements of the rights of the democrat candidates in the current election campaign.

Democrat candidates have been experiencing difficulties in registering for local elections in recent years. Worse, they claim that they have been marginalized and now have to resort to street politics in order to be heard.

In the spring of 2008, Yabloko, the only major political party represented in the Legislative Assembly to oppose City Halls policies, was excluded from elections to the assembly amid claims that the local government was silencing its most vocal critic. No liberal candidates are currently represented in the city parliament.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of todays seminar is Grammar Practice.


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at Professional Growth, a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmChams Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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