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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ryzhkov Claims Kremlin Has Blacklist

The presidential administration has insisted on vetting party lists for December's State Duma elections and compiled a blacklist of undesirable candidates, independent Duma Deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov told Vedomosti in a story published Thursday.

Ryzhkov declined to comment on the report Thursday, saying he did not have time. A Kremlin spokesman denied the allegations.

Officials in the presidential administration asked all four parties in the Duma to submit preliminary lists of potential candidates for December's elections by May 31, and all of them except the Communist Party complied with the request, Ryzhkov told Vedomosti.

"In the Kremlin, they've begun to set out the composition of the next Duma," Anatoly Baranov, the recently fired editor of the Communist Party's web site, said in the report.

The presidential administration is trying to exert a much greater degree of control over party lists than in previous Duma votes, Ryzhkov said.

He added that there was a blacklist of opposition figures who would not be permitted to appear on any lists, including himself; Duma Deputy Dmitry Rogozin, former head of the Rodina party; Duma Deputy Sergei Glazyev, a Rodina co-founder; former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov; and former presidential candidate Irina Khakamada.

"Such lists do not exist," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said by telephone Thursday. Peskov also said he had heard nothing of Duma candidates being vetted by the presidential administration.

Central Elections Commission chief Vladimir Churov denied the allegations at a Thursday news conference.

"Each party is free to do what it wants with its lists," he said. "As for my procedure, when I receive the lists there is no step that involves taking them across Red Square and back."

A Kremlin source told Interfax on Thursday that Ryzhkov's allegations should not be taken seriously. "This is the diseased imagination of certain political midgets," the news agency reported the source as saying.

n Around 60 percent of eligible voters are expected to turn out for the Duma elections, Churov said at a news conference Thursday.

Churov also answered a recent complaint from A Just Russia leader Sergei Mironov that his party was not receiving a fair share of television coverage, telling reporters "some parties aren't newsworthy enough to be on television."