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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EDITORIAL: CEC Laws Interpreted Selectively




"For example, one candidate wrote he drove one car, a Lada, and in fact had another - a Mitsubishi." - The Central Election Committee chief elaborating on why the Fatherland-All Russia bloc might be disqualified from the Duma elections.


So let's get this straight. The Liberal Democratic Party of Russia has stocked its Duma party list with would-be future legislators like: Anatoly Bykov, the aluminum king wanted in connection with money-laundering charges; Dmitry Yakubovsky, who served prison time for stealing valuable manuscripts from the Russian National Library, and who Boris Yeltsin suggests in his memoirs routinely bribed top Cabinet ministers; Ashot Yegiazaryan, a banker whose brother's apartment was where Yury Skuratov was filmed frolicking with prostitutes; and other fine citizens.


LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky has over the years been accused of holding much of the party's property (including cars, by the way) in his own name. He has argued frankly that criminal structures are just another kind of constituent worthy of representation. As Zhirinovsky recently put it, the LDPR formula is "bureaucrats, bankers and criminal structures specializing in economic crimes and a party that can support them."


The LDPR proudly talks of having organized Russian citizen "volunteers" who helped the Serbs "fight NATO" - although most reports about these volunteers suggests they were more involved in raping and pillaging than noble resistance.


Rounding out the picture is the fact that in the past year and a half, the LDPR has lost five of its members to contract murders.


Yet does anyone expect the election committee to ban the LDPR - the Kremlin's pet pseudo-opposition? Not likely.


Another national party headed into the Duma, Our Home Is Russia, is headed by Viktor Chernomyrdin. Among his many other claims to fame, as Prime Minister Chernomyrdin - who some have described as one of the richest men in the world - infamously declared his 1996 income at a paltry $8,000. Since the election officials seem fixated on cars these days, we could add that among his property Chernomyrdin declared a Chevrolet Blazer he put down as worth about three times what he earned.


Chernomyrdin and Zhirinovsky are somehow upstanding citizens, but Luzhkov and his ally Yevgeny Primakov are pulled over by the GAI traffic police as "election law violators." As the Russians might say: vsyo yasno. Perhaps the only real question is whether the Kremlin is so out of touch with reality that it will risk making martyred saints out of the Fatherland-All Russia crowd with such ham-handed harassment.