Agriculture mogul Pavel Grudinin has been disqualified for allegedly owning shares in a foreign company – something Russian law prohibits parliamentary candidates from doing. He denies the allegations and said the decision was politically motivated.
Wary of his declining popularity among the country’s electorate, it appears the Russian leader did not want to risk losing votes to the communists.
In response, Mr Grudinin, third on the Communist Party’s list of candidates, denied having any foreign assets and said he was being excluded because of the votes he would win.
” The [Communist] The party is an opposition party, ”he told Russian news agency Interfax.
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Winning it would give the increasingly authoritarian leader four more years at the head of the former Soviet Union.
But questions about his ability to lead are increasingly being raised – even at the national level among his once strong base.
Unlike the first years of his presidency, living standards are declining and the Russians continue to feel the impact of international sanctions.
Mr Putin’s continued interference in the civil war in Ukraine and allegations that Kremlin-backed hackers attempted to influence the Western elections further deteriorated relations.
The poisoning of Salisbury Novichok has been widely blamed on agents of the Russian secret unit GRU.
Opposition activist Alexei Navalny was then targeted with the same nerve agent and took weeks to recover in Germany.
And although he may not be able to stand, his presence will undoubtedly be felt in the corridors of power across the country as the elections draw ever closer.
Today, it emerged that Russian authorities have restricted access to Mr Navalny’s website, as well as dozens of sites run by his close allies, his team said.
While Mr Putin can still win a fifth term, his position is undoubtedly weaker than in a rosier era.