The most significant regional and local elections of 2022, as well as those in the Moscow districts, will be taking place in a political situation where a new 'iron curtain' has descended on the opportunity for voters to participate in government through their freely elected representatives.Despite the increased number of political parties that can nominate candidates without collecting signatures, real competition in Russia this year is one of the lowest in a decade. This is largely due to the ability of election commissions and authorities to arbitrarily exclude candidates on political grounds.
At the same time, there are noticeable changes in the party system, which can only be assessed later. Overall, the policy of managed and limited competition that has developed in recent years continues. In September, it will become clear whether any sprouts have managed to break through the pavement.
1. A gradual restructuring of the party field is taking place. The election results of recent years have led to an increase in the number of political parties acquiring 'parliamentary privilege': the party “New People” now holds seats in the State Duma, and in many regions, other small parties have been successful - above all, the Party of Pensioners and, in part, the Communists of Russia.
2. At the same time, figures for formal competition at the regional level this year are among the lowest of the last ten years. Initially, very few lists were put forward by the parties.
3. The decrease in competition is influenced by the fact that the decisions of electoral commissions on candidate registration are often arbitrary and politically motivated. The elections are mainly contested by nominees from parties already represented and therefore having parliamentary privileges making it easier for them to register candidates (but even they are sometimes refused registration or certification of their lists on absurd grounds); there are very few representatives of parties without privileges and self-nominated candidates even at the nomination stage, and after registration their number remains negligible.
4. However, the number of registered candidates is only a formal indicator, as the real competition is much lower due to an overtly contractual relationship with the authorities.
5. The competition is also affected by the increased personal risks for opposition politicians who participating in the elections. Their mere participation exposes them to the possibility of administrative and criminal prosecution. This year, the use of "anti-extremist" legislation and new legislation on discrediting the army has been used for the specific purpose of intimidating opposition candidates. The "foreign agents" legislation passed earlier, which in fact does not provide for such a possibility at all, has been used to remove candidates.
In essence, by passing repressive legislation that is political in nature, the government has, through the hands of electoral commissions, courts and law enforcement agencies, lowered an "iron curtain" affecting significant portion of Russian citizens.
6. In order to combat CPRF, which is the main rival of the party of power, the second tier of parties - the Communists of Russia and the Party of Pensioners - are beeing favoured by the system. The Party of Pensioners has a good chance of passing the election threshold almost everywhere.
7. The more established parliamentary opposition parties are going through a difficult time.
• The LDPR has had to adapt to the loss of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, with the party's regional coordinators becoming the leaders of its lists.
• Just Russia's lists traditionally vary widely from region to region, and its campaign strategy differs as well. The results depend to a large extent on the personal qualities of the heads of regional branches, as the party continues to have problems with self-identification. The party's most active campaign is in North Ossetia.
• The CPRF will be participating in all significant elections this year and usually forms its lists from local activists. There has been a noticeable rejuvenation of the lists.
Over the past few years, the CPRF has almost become a “supermarket”, on whose shelves one could find almost anything from Stalinists and religious fanatics to libertarians and supporters of Alexei Navalny. This situation was both advantageous (it provided extra votes) and dangerous (it irritated the authorities), but it suited the interests of different groups within the party that were competing. It is possible that in the current circumstances this situation will be coming to an end. In some regions, however, results may deteriorate markedly due to the party leadership distancing themselves from activists and candidates belonging to the wing most opposed to the government.
• "New People”, while having good prospects where their candidates are registered, face obvious problems with candidate recruitment - the party has not even put forward lists in some major cities. Most of the betting is on young, previously unknown politicians and entrepreneurs.
• "Yabloko" has already failed in this year's elections: both lists for the regional assemblies have dropped out - in Sakhalin they were refused certification; in Saratov region they failed to collect enough signatures and to submit documents for registration.
8. The formation of United Russia's party lists clearly indicates that the party's electoral strategy continues to be administrative and corporate mobilization. The abundant representation on the lists of the heads of education, health care, social services, and large industrial enterprises is an example of "corporate representation" and administrative assurance of the voting results.
9. There is virtually no competition in the 2022 gubernatorial elections: already at the nomination stage, political parties tend either to withdraw from nominating candidates in the most promising regions altogether, or to nominate weaker candidates than they could. The most serious candidates know in advance whether they will be able to pass the municipal filter or not and, as a result, many potential candidates do not even try to run.
This year, it is only in Udmurtia that you can see a noticeable revival of campaigning activities in the election of the head of the region. However, there is a feeling of protest also in the other regions where gubernatorial elections will be taking place, and in some places, it is quite strong.
10. The heightened attention to the 2022 Moscow elections is fueled primarily by memories of the opposition's unexpected successes in several districts in 2017. Today, there are no prerequisites for a repeat of those successes, and comparisons of the 2017 and 2022 elections should be made with very strong reservations.
There is no large supply of candidates, some of the activists who entered into politics in 2017 turned out to have done so "accidentally", some were disillusioned afterward due to a lack of any real power and due to budget constraints, some were incorporated into power networks, and some were demoralized by Russia’s war against Ukraine and even left the country, some were unable to register due to the restrictive legislation and its application in practice.
A total of 88 candidates were nominated in 14 regions, or an average of 6.3 candidates per region; 69 candidates were registered, or an average of 4.9 per region. This pattern repeats itself from year to year, with most regions registering four or five candidates each. The drop-out rate this year was 19 candidates or 21.6 per cent.
But the above figures don't tell us much. The most serious candidates know in advance whether they can pass the municipal filter. Passing the filter is the result of agreements with the regional administration. It might also be the result of direct planning of the "political design" by the administration itself. Usually, it is a combination of the two - large parties agree on candidates, while "small" parties are "advised" on which candidates to choose).
In the current campaign, of the 19 candidates who failed to pass the filter, 13 withdrew or simply did not submit documents for registration. The rest were denied registration. Thus, the figures on how many that were denied registration include only those who either took a risk or hoped to somehow slip through, as well as those who simply wanted to mark their presence in the political field, feign competition or pursue other personal agendas.
This is one indication of the artificiality of the municipal filter system, which allows target figures to be marked at the registration stage.
Candidates from all parliamentary parties are represented only in the Sverdlovsk oblast, where they are the only ones campaigning. Four of the five parliamentary parties are running in the presidential elections in eight regions (Buryatia, Udmurtia, Vladimir, Kaliningrad, Novgorod, Ryazan, Saratov, and Tambov regions). Three parliamentary parties are represented in Karelia, Kirov, and Tomsk oblasts; and in Yaroslavl oblast, only two of the "parliamentary five" parties take part in the elections. The party New People were able to register its candidates in only two regions: Buryatia and Sverdlovsk Region.
In addition to the parliamentary parties, the Party of Pensioners (eight), the Communists of Russia (four), Rodina (three), the Party of Growth (two), the Green Alternative and the DPR (one each) registered gubernatorial candidates.
Yabloko, PVR, RPSU, the Cossack Party and the Russian People's Union failed to register their candidates.
The rule remains that United Russia never nominates candidates against incumbent governors, regardless of whether they are nominated by other parties or by self-nomination.
2.1 Party lists in regional parliamentary elections
A total of 48 lists were nominated (eight per region) and 40 were registered (6.7 per region). Thus, the dropout rate was eight lists (16.7%).
The number of nominated lists per region (8.0) is the lowest since 2012.
When it comes to the parties with parliamentary privilege, three lists out of 40 (7.5%) were rejected. When it comes to parties without parliamentary privelege, five out of eight lists (62.5%) were rejected. IN three out of those I've cases, the party withdrew or failed to submit documents for registration, and in two cases, the party was denied registration. In all five cases, it can be assumed, that the parties failed to pass the signature threshold.
A total of 13 parties put forward lists, and after registration as participants in regional parliamentary elections, 10 remained.
Of the parties attempting to register by signature, only the Party of Pensioners escaped without a loss. The Communists of Russia and Rodina lost one region each, while Yabloko, the Party of the Cause and the Civic Platform failed to register in the only region where they had parliamentary privilege. However, Yabloko was also denied certification in regions where it had parliamentary privilege.
Formally, the highest competition between party lists can be observed in Sakhalin Oblast, where nine party lists have been nominated. However, they claim ten parliamentary seats, which remained allocated under the proportional system after the electoral reform. In addition, local observers associate the list of the New People with the mayor of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Sergei Nadsadin, as well as part of the list of United Russia - in fact, they complement each other.
The least competition can be formally observed in North Ossetia, with only five lists registered in each region.
In North Ossetia, the Centra Electoral Committee of the republic refused to certify the lists of the "New People" and the "Communists of Russia".
The "Communists of Russia" were not certified due to legal errors by the party. It should be noted that the party had problems with its nominations in 2017 when it also failed to register its lists.
Both parties filed lawsuits in the North Ossetian Supreme Court but lost.
Registration of the party list of the Party of Business was also rejected in North Ossetia. The party handed in sheets containing 1,526 hand-collected signatures of voters and 1,296 signatures of voters collected. According to the results of the verification by the working group, 64 signatures of voters were declared invalid, which is 2.26% of the total number of signatures. However, a ruling by a justice of peace in the Leninsky district of Vladikavkaz, found that Khadzaragov, head of the regional branch of the Party of Business, was guilty of an administrative offence under article 5.47 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation in the matter of the collection of signatures of voters in places where pensions, benefits and other social payments are issued, and a fine of 2000 rubles was imposed on him.
On July 18, 19 and 20, 2022 an inspection was carried out in the office of the regional branch of the Party of Business which was housed in the same building as Post Office No. 40 in the city of Vladikavkaz, however, had an entirely separate entrance. Voters' signatures were being collected at this regional office. Since the Russian Post Office receives and distributes pensions and other social security payments, 383 signatures that had been gathered at this regional office were rejected (13.5% of the number of signatures submitted for registration of the candidate list).
It should be noted that some of the refusals to certify or register party lists are not objectionable. In Udmurtia, for example, the working group for verification of voter signatures found that the Communists of Russia had more than 20% of the signatures they submitted for verification to be invalid and unreliable. Rodina in the Krasnodar Krai, Yabloko in the Saratov Oblast, and Civic Platform in Sakhalin were unable to submit enough signatures in support of their nominations.
2.2 Candidates in majority districts in regional parliamentary elections
In the majority constituencies, the same tendencies as in previous years have been present: mainly, nominees of the parties with parliamentarian privilege take part in the elections; representatives of parties without privilege and self-nominees are already few at the nomination stage, and after registration, their number remains negligible.
The totals show that parties without privileges nominated only 17 candidates, and only 49 self-nominated candidates exercised the right of self-nomination. In total, their number (66) w less than half of the number of mandates being contested (151), and after registration the number of self-nominated candidates was about six times less than the number of mandates. The number of candidates from parties without privileges was about twelve times less. While the dropout rate was only 2% for parties with privileges, it reached 24% for parties without privileges and 53% for self-nominated candidates.
Already at the nomination stage, there were no party candidates without benefits in the Udmurt Republic and Penza oblast. After registration, there were no self-nominated candidates in Krasnodar Krai, Penza and Sakhalin oblasts. Saratov oblast stands out in this respect, where all seven candidates from parties without privilege were registered (six candidates from the Communists of Russia and one candidate from Rodina) and 21 self-nominated candidates out of 25.
At the same time, the overall competition indicator (5.6) is quite high. It is higher than in 2017 (4.7). Obviously, this increase is due to the passage of a fifth party to the State Duma, which has led to an increase in the number of parties with parliamentary privilege. The highest (7.6) was in the Sakhalin region and the lowest (4.8) was in the Krasnodar region.
However, such indicators should be treated as only formal ones, as the real competition is much lower due to the overtly contractual relationships of formally competing parties and candidates, pressure on the opposition, and the disguise of government-backed candidates as opposition or self-nominated candidates.
3.1 Party lists for city council elections in regional centers
Party lists have been applied in the elections of city councils of regional centers in only seven cities. A total of 51 lists were nominated (7.3 per city), 50 were registered (7.1 per city), and one list (Rodina in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky) was refused registration. The dropout rate was 2 percent, which can be considered a record.
Most of the lists (42) were presented by parliamentary privilege parties. But even among non-privileged there is a relatively low drop-out rate: one list out of nine, i.e., 11%.
Most lists (nine) were registered in Barnaul, eight in Kirov, seven each in Cherkessk, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Kursk and Pskov, and only five in Kyzyl.
The old Parliamentary Four put up lists in all seven cities, while the New People ignored Cherkessk and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Apart from them, the Party of Pensioners and the Communists of Russia registered five party lists each. Three lists have been registered by Rodina. The remaining parties are running in one of the cities.
A total of 12 parties nominated lists, and all remained contestants in the regional centers' city council elections.
A major scandal happened in the election to the Pskov City Duma. Initially, the party New People was denied registration on the suspicion that it had forged candidates’ signatures on documents. As a result, on 4 August 2022, the Pskov City Court ruled that the exclusion of candidates from the unified list was illegal and ordered the Territorial Election Commission (TEC) to re-examine the issue. The TEC of Pskov then registered the list of the party New People for the Pskov City Duma elections. However, the TEC continued its attempts to remove the party list through the courts on "newly discovered circumstances", which are essentially the same (the court was adjourned to 24 August).
In addition, following a visit by police officers to members of the New People unified list, three candidates on 9 August 2022 wrote statements withdrawing their candidacies from the election. As a result of their withdrawal from the unified list, three territorial groups were left with one candidate each, which did not meet the requirements. As a result, three more candidates were excluded from the list.
Note that in several cases, second and third-tier political parties perform outright spoiler functions.
The most striking example is the election of deputies to the Barnaul City Duma, where the electoral commission showed the highest degree of loyalty and registered the highest number of lists - nine (all those nominated). In a city where the position of the CPRF is traditionally strong and, in addition, the party Just Russia and the party New People can perform well, the Party of Pensioners, the Communists of Russia and Rodina, which clearly draw votes away from the CPRF, and the Greens were also registered without any problems. At the same time, the lists of these parties for elections to the Barnaul City Duma are largely filled with students of Altai State Technical University, whose vice-rector for educational work is Ivan Ognev, the current deputy and United Russia candidate and head of the party's faction in the City Duma. Aleksandr Nechitayev, a 23-year-old Altai State Technical University graduate, also tops the Rodina list, and of the 20 people nominated by the territorial groups, the oldest is 30-year-old Anastasia Puzyreva (born in 1992). Another seven were born before 2000, and the remaining 12 candidates were born in the nineties. Of the 20 people on the Greens' list, only one was born before 2000 - Irina Dubrovskaya, born three days before the year 2000. All the others were born later, and two candidates were barely 18 years old. The list of the Communists of Russia in Barnaul is more diverse: it includes, for example, former CPRF members and even former heads of the local branches of the United Russia Young Guard in Barnaul and the Khabarsky District.
In other words, in Barnaul, four of the nine registered parties look like outright spoilers, working primarily against the CPRF and, to some extent, against the Party Just Russia and the party New People.
3.2 Candidates in majoritarian districts in the election of city councils of regional centers
The picture in majoritarian constituencies in the local elections in the regional centers is almost the same as in the regional legislative elections.
There were initially candidates from parties without privileges in Kyzyl, Barnaul and Tver. After registration, there were no party candidates without privileges in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Omsk, and Yaroslavl, and no self-nominated candidates in Kyzyl.
In terms of self-nominated candidates, the exception is Gorno-Altaisk, where there are on average almost three per mandate, while the parliamentary opposition parties have nominated few candidates: New People have not nominated candidates at all, the CPRF has nominated 13 candidates for 21 mandates, and Just Russia - For Truth - only seven (of which six are registered). In other words, part of the opposition here has decided to go self-nominated. If we exclude 57 Gorno-Altaiskians, the remaining ten cities will have only 32 self-nominated candidates, which is 7.5 times less than the number of mandates.
In terms of parties without benefits, the exception is Vladivostok, where most of the candidates from the Communists of Russia and the Cossack Party of the Russian Federation are registered.
The level of competition here is also average (5.7). The highest level is in Vladivostok (7.1) and the lowest (3.8) is in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
In the case of single-mandate districts in municipal elections, the problem of cutting off candidates through the 'culling' of signatures also persists. As before, registering for election without being nominated by a party with a 'parliamentary privilege' is in most cases possible only with the consent of the administration.
Deputies of Moscow's inner-city districts are far below all the above-mentioned regional and local assemblies in terms of their actual powers, and small budgets. The system of local government in Moscow is very weak even compared to the generally underdeveloped local government in Russia.
However, any election in Moscow has traditionally attracted hypertrophied media attention and political analysts for several reasons.
The heightened focus on Moscow's 2022 elections is also fueled by memories of the opposition's unexpected successes in several Moscow's districts in 2017.
4.1 Formal results of candidate nomination and registration for local elections in Moscow
Elections are held in 125 districts of Moscow in multi-mandate districts. There are two or four multi-mandate districts in each district (the number of mandates may vary). There are 313 such districts in total, in which 1,417 mandates will be distributed.
Of the 7,232 nominated candidates, 6,059 were registered as of 16 August. A total of 461 were refused registration, 503 lost their status as a nominee before registration, and 300 dropped out after registration. Thus, as of 18 August 2022, 82.7 per cent were registered and the drop-out rate was 17.3 per cent, quite high for a municipal election. It continues to worsen as a second wave of candidate withdrawals has begun.
As of the morning of 22 August 2022, the Moscow City Court website lists 274 cases involving electoral commissions, including 172 in the first instance, with a further 102 appeals. Thus, there continues to be a massive, though not total, denial of registration and cancellation of registration decisions due to sometimes formal and far-fetched claims about signatures or submitted documents.
At the same time, many candidates in Moscow are registered by signature. One gets the impression that the decisions of election commissions on candidate registration or non-registration are largely arbitrary and politically motivated. It is indicative in this respect that out of 2,387 self-nominated candidates 1,614 (67.6%) were registered, out of 179 candidates of the Yabloko party - 152 (84.9%), and out of the administratively supported coalition My District - 157 people (157, 158) were registered - 157 people out of 158 (see Fig. 1).
Five parties have been the most active in the elections: United Russia, the CPRF, the Communists of Russia, New People, and Just Russia - For Truth. The Communists of Russia have the highest dropout rate (22.7%), but this is not surprising, as the party is traditionally poor in paperwork, and most of its candidates are "technical". Among the remaining four parties, A Just Russia and the CPRF had a significant proportion of candidates who dropped out.
Among the next echelon of parties and coalitions - more than 100 nominees - the My Neighbourhood coalition, supported by the mayor's office, attracted attention, with only one dropout out of 158 (0.6%). The Green Party (22.4 percent) and Yabloko (15.1 pe) had very high drop-out rates.
Moscow territories vary greatly in the dropout rate of candidates, and this does not always depend on the degree of competitiveness or opposition in the districts. For instance, in the Bogorodsky district of the Eastern Administrative District, 102 (99.0%) of 103 nominated candidates were registered, with one dropping out after registration. This is one of the districts of prominent Moscow City Duma deputy Mikhail Timonov, and probably one of the most competitive ones. At the same time, the percentage of candidate registration is higher only in the Altuf'evsky District (North-Eastern Administrative Okrug, two constituencies), where 100% of the candidates have been registered - 33 out of 33 in two constituencies. However, they are mostly party nominees and there are only two self-nominated candidates.
The lowest registration percentage of 46.7% (28 out of 60) was in the Molzhaninovsky District (SAO, two constituency districts). Eight candidates, mostly self-nominated, were rejected there, and another 13 lost their status as nominees (mostly self-nominated, Communists of Russia, etc.).
The greatest denial of registration - 28.6 percent - was in the Filievsky Park district: ten candidates (all self-nominated, at least mostly independent, including "foreign agent" Denis Prokuronov) were denied registration. In all, there are 35 nominees and 20 registered candidates in the district.
The Krasnoselsky district (Central Administrative District, two constituencies) also saw 25 percent rejection: 14 of 56 candidates (11 self-nominated, three from Yabloko) were denied registration.
Detailed statistics on the nomination and registration of candidates in the various districts of Moscow can be seen in the tables at the link.
4.2 Mechanisms for Screening Undesirable Candidates
Various methods can be used to weed out candidates who are undesirable to the authorities: a refusal to register them, pressure on candidates and parties, withdrawals after registration, etc.
Pressure, for example, was exerted on candidate Yulia Katsenko, registered in the Biryulevo Vostochnoe district, where an attempt was made to remove her through her employer, a subsidiary of Sberbank. According to the candidate, the management of Sberbank gave her an ultimatum of either participating in the elections or to continue working, citing risks associated with the "foreign agents" legislation (the new "foreign agents" law allows a person or organisation to be recognised as a foreign agent on the basis of any political activity). The management saw their employee's participation in the election as a risk to their company.
Denis Prokuronov, a candidate in the Filevsky Park district, also suffered from the arbitrary use of the "foreign agents" legislation. The territorial electoral commission refused to register him based on inaccurately submitted information about his affiliation with a legal entity performing the functions of a foreign agent. Prokuronov indicated that in 2021 he had worked for the organisation Civic Assistance, which was listed as a "foreign agent" and he was therefore affiliated with it. The Election Commission made two requests to the Ministry of Justice, which informed it that it had no knowledge of such an affiliation.
Another ground for the disqualification of "inconvenient" candidates has been the "anti-extremist" legislation. According to this law, for a person to be found involved in the activities of an extremist organisation and to be deprived of his right to be elected, a relevant court decision must be on hand. However, law enforcement practice shows that electoral commissions and courts consider letters from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Prosecutor's Office or Ministry of Justice, and decrees on administrative offences for participation in protest actions to be sufficient cause. In the latter case, the following logic was applied: the candidate participated in or organised protests and was fined or arrested. Since these protests were organised by Alexei Navalny's team, and Navalny's structures are recognised as extremist organisations and are banned in Russia - consequently the candidate is involved in the activities of extremist organisations.
For example, the Ostankino District Court cancelled the registration of Ostankino District MP candidate Sergey Tsukasov. The suit against him was filed by Tsukasov's rival Vitaly Kiselev. Kiselev and his representative considered the grounds for involvement to be an enforceable administrative offence order for a rally in support of Navalny, as well as several Facebook posts, apparently with material from Navalny's team. Similar situations have occurred with Pavel Yarilin (Airport), Elena Rusakova (Gagarinsky), Denis Shenderovich (Kuntsevo) and others.
Articles for "discrediting" the Russian armed forces also pose a new threat to candidates, especially as they could also lead to criminal prosecution, as happened with former Krasnoselsky district head Ilya Yashin, who has now been forced to skip this election.
We should especially note that the real threat that exists has forced many candidates known not only in their constituencies but also city-wide, to refuse to run in the elections. For example, Lyudmila Shtein, Ilya Azar, Mikhail Lobanov refused to run for re-election, and Yulia Galyamina and others cannot take part in the election.
In Russia today, large groups of citizens - about 10% of all voters - are defeated in passive suffrage but given the expansive and voluntaristic interpretation of "extremism" legislation, almost any opposition candidate can be removed at any time without any evidence.
The same can be said of the "foreign agency" legislation. In essence, based on repressive legislation, the government, through the hands of electoral commissions, courts and law enforcement agencies, has lowered a new "iron curtain" for a significant portion of Russian citizens.
Aleksandr Zamyatin, one of the organizers of the VyDvizheniye platform, also reported pressure on candidates. He said that they had already had several platform candidates during this campaign who had withdrawn from the election due to pressure at work and did not want to disclose this publicly. At least one candidate had been fired from the school where he worked.
There was also a scandal with the nomination of New People candidates. Many potential candidates who had initially been promised nomination by the party (including the head of Tverskoy District, Yakov Yakubovich) were rejected at their congress, and some of them were withdrawn after the congress.
Conflicts within the CPRF deserve separate mention.
On the one hand, the CPRF City Committee withdrew eight candidates nominated by the party's Perov branch due to their "close ties with Moscow executive authorities". The party stated that their nomination papers had been collected from the city administrations.
On the other hand, Mikhail Lobanov, who came in second place in the 2021 Duma election in single-mandate district 197 and founded the VyDvizheniye coalition in the 2022 election, has accused the party of internal repression for the anti-war stance of some candidates. This is how he explained the withdrawal of the nomination of two CPRF candidates from the coalition Convenient Ramenki, Emilia Khokhlova and Temur Avdoi.
The traditional technique of "culling" nomination signatures continues to be used to remove candidates. For example, in Tushino North, five voter signatures in support of the nomination of candidates Ivan Shmatin and Eduard Kormyshakov were each found invalid or invalid. According to MIA experts, the dates in these signatures were not handwritten by the voters. Among others, the signature of Andrey Prokofyev, acting municipal deputy of this district, who is running on the same ticket as Shmatin and Kormyshakov, was declared invalid. At a meeting on 21 July, the commission refused to register Shmatin and Kormyshakov, without listening to the arguments of the candidates and their voters, who came to prove to the commission that they had indeed put their own handwritten signatures on the form.
Special mention should be made of the refusal to register candidates because signature collectors were members of election commissions, even in cases where they had suspended their participation in commissions or were members in other constituencies .
Other candidates also had problems with signatures.
 The refusal to certify New People, according to the party, is due to "picking on several candidates for the election": "For example, two of our candidates are divorced from their wives, but there are no divorce marks in their passports. Instead of clarifying the information, the CEC asked for certificates for the spouses, which did not exist. Another two candidates are allegedly members of other parties, although they officially left them several years ago".
 According to Golos experts, such an expansive interpretation of the bans leads to an unreasonable complication of signature collection and is illegal, as the essence of this norm is to protect employees of enterprises and other persons from pressure from superiors, as well as to create obstacles for bribing voters.
 The Golos movement believes that in the case of suspension as a member with a casting vote in an election commission or such work in other elections, even taking place simultaneously, by virtue of the interpretation of the Russian Constitutional Court, election commissions should not prevent citizens from exercising their active suffrage to support the nomination of candidates. The meaning of the prohibition set out in Article 37(6) of the Law "On Basic Guarantees of Electoral Rights and the Right to Participate in Referendums of the Citizens of the Russian Federation" is to resolve the situation of potential conflict of interest and abuse of administrative resources. It is clear, however, that in the case of suspension and, all the more so, in the case of elections taking place in another territory where the citizen is not vested with the relevant powers, there are no such risks