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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Prosecutors Review LDPR Ad

The Moscow city election commission has asked the city prosecutor's office to examine a television campaign ad for the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party that it believes incites ethnic hatred.

The prosecutor's office is already looking into a television ad for the nationalist Rodina party. Both ads, part of the campaign for the Dec. 4 City Duma elections, suggest that dark-skinned migrants pose a threat to Moscow and Muscovites.

If the prosecutor's office finds that a party's ad incites ethnic hatred, the party could be taken off the ballot, Vyacheslav Shulenin, spokesman for the city elections commission, said Monday.

The LDPR ad features party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky warning that migrants from "the south" and Central Asia are responsible for the corruption and numerous traffic accidents in the capital and they will soon force Muscovites out of their apartments, Shulenin said.

The ad was scheduled to be aired this week on VKT, but the small Moscow station decided to run it by the election commission first, he said. Telephone calls to VKT seeking comment went unanswered on Monday.

"There are a number of remarks about migrants in the ad that according to election commission experts contain a call for ethnic hatred," Shulenin said.

The ad ends with Zhirinovsky, who tops LDPR's party list on the Dec. 4 ballot, concluding that his party is "a new force" that is capable of protecting Muscovites from unwanted migrants and returning the city its "Slavic face."

On Nov. 10, an ad featuring LDPR candidate Vladislav Volkov speaking the same text as Zhirinovsky was aired on Stolitsa, a City Hall-controlled station, Shulenin said.

Zhirinovsky said his party's campaign followed the law but that he would not be surprised if a pretext were found to bar LDPR from running.

In a statement released by the party on Monday, Zhirinovsky said he saw it as his duty to defend the interests of Russian citizens. "We are not helping our own citizens, not giving them a chance to survive. Instead of giving jobs to people from the provinces, Moscow feeds Azeri and Tajik villages," he said.

On Nov. 9, the election commission filed a similar complaint regarding the Rodina ad, which aired on TV Center. Prosecutors were still investigating, Shulenin said.

Alexander Bukov, a Rodina representative on the city election commission, said that unlike the LDPR ad, his party's ad was "balanced and right."

Rodina spokesman Sergei Butin said that LDPR produced its ads with nationalist sentiments on the orders of the presidential administration in an attempt to steal votes from Rodina.

Rodina lawyers filed complaints with the city election commission and the Moscow City Court on Monday demanding that LDPR be taken off the ballot, citing what they said were politically incorrect remarks on a recent NTV talk show.