A billboard with the logo of the 2018 Russian presidential election, in Kazan. Background: the Qolşärif Mosque of the Kazan Kremlin

Russian Civic Chamber Records Foreign Meddling Attempts in Upcoming Vote

© Sputnik / Maksim Bogodvid
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian Civic Chamber has noticed large-scale foreign interference attempts in the upcoming presidential election in Russia, the deputy head of the working group on voters' rights said Monday.

"During the public monitoring of the election campaign in all 85 [Russian] regions, we have to state that there is an attempt of a large-scale foreign interference in the Russian election," Maksim Grigoryev said.

According to Grigoryev, a person who was not officially registered by the watchdog was opening "fake election offices, hiring staff, organizing expensive events and trips."

READ MORE: Russian Election Commission Receives 386 Complaints During Presidential Campaign

"I am saying fake because it was clear for everyone and for the candidate himself that a person with a criminal conviction cannot become a candidate," the Civic Chamber member said, referring to opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

Navalny received a suspended five-year sentence in February over embezzlement of 16 million rubles (about $286,000) from the state-run KirovLes timber company. Under the Russian law, a person with a criminal conviction cannot be registered as a presidential candidate, so the Central Election Commission (CEC) refused to register Navalny.

"He is now de facto spreading propaganda, especially on social media, holding events in order to scare the Russian citizens away from the election. State and private media outlets of a number of countries and, above all, of the United States, are working toward the same goals," Grigoryev said.

The member of the Civic Chamber added that the projects of the non-candidate were sponsored by the governments of the United States and other Western countries.

READ MORE: Over 4.2Mln Russians to Vote Outside Permanent Residence — Election Commission

"In fact, 81 fake election offices constitutes an organized legal cover for a foreign tampering with the Russian election," Grigoryev concluded.

The Russians will go to poll this Sunday to choose from the following eight candidates: Sergey Baburin from the All-People's Union party, Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin, incumbent President Vladimir Putin, Civil Initiative party candidate Ksenia Sobchak, Communists of Russia party chairman Maxim Suraykin, Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov, co-founder of the Yabloko party Grigory Yavlinsky and head of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

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Western meddling, attempts, presidential election, Russia
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