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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Glitch Blamed for Late Start of Duma Campaign

The State Duma election campaign was supposed to officially kick off Monday or Tuesday with the publication of the relevant presidential decree in Rossiiskaya Gazeta. But publication has been delayed until at least Wednesday, prompting speculation that United Russia is being given a break.

President Vladimir Putin signed the decree Sunday. But the Kremlin letter seeking its publication only arrived at Rossiiskaya Gazeta on Tuesday, said Timofei Kuznetsov, deputy editor of the government newspaper. Ahead of the 2003 elections, the newspaper published the decree the day after it was signed.

Kuznetsov denied that the delay was on purpose, saying slow-moving bureaucracy was probably to blame.

"Also, the law allows for five days between the signing of a decree and its publication," he said.

Vedomosti reported Tuesday that United Russia had sought a delay to prepare campaign documents for the Central Elections Commission. By law, the documents should be filed within 30 days of the publication of the decree. But the party will only finalize its platform at a conference on Oct. 1 and 2, meaning that if the decree had come into force Monday, the party would have only a day before the Oct. 3 deadline to submit the documents.

"Do not demonize United Russia," the party's election point man, Andrei Vorobyov, said in a written reply to questions. "We are not interested in delaying the publication. On the contrary, we are fully ready for the election campaign."