Russian opposition activist to run for parliament from jail


FILE PHOTO: Andrei Pivovarov, chief of Open Russia opposition group, attends a forum of independent members of municipal councils in Moscow, Russia March 13, 2021. P Kommersant Photo/Alexander Miridonov via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Jailed Russian opposition activist Andrei Pivovarov has registered as a candidate for next month's parliamentary election, his team said on Thursday, even though multiple other Kremlin critics have been disqualified.

The former head of Open Russia, a now defunct group linked to exiled former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was removed from a plane and detained in St. Petersburg in May.

A court has ordered him held until late October, pending trial, meaning he will have to campaign from behind bars ahead of the Sept. 17-19 parliamentary vote.

Organisations linked to Russia's best-known opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, were outlawed this month, and a new law prevents members of such groups from running in elections for periods of three to five years.

The Central Election Commission confirmed to Reuters that Pivovarov had successfully registered for the parliamentary vote, though it was unclear why his case had prevailed.

"The politician will campaign from the pre-trial detention centre, where he has been held since June 2," his team wrote on Telegram. "A challenging but vibrant campaign lies ahead for our election HQ."

Amid a crackdown on the opposition in the run-up to the election, London-based Open Russia ended operations in Russia in May to protect its members from being jailed.

Opponents say President Vladimir Putin's government crushes dissent, while Moscow says it applies the law to protect national security and prevent external meddling.

(Reporting by Anton Zverev; Writing by Polina Ivanova; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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