MOSCOW, January 15 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Supreme Court has upheld a decision denying registration to Soviet-era dissident Vladimir Bukovsky for the March 2 presidential elections due to residency requirements.
The court thereby rejected an appeal lodged by the 65-year-old former dissident's lawyers against election authorities that had barred the academic, who has been living in the U.K. for the past 31 years, from the elections, citing a law that presidential candidates must have lived in Russia at least for the past 10 years.
This is the second appeal filed by Bukovsky. The Supreme Court upheld the Central Election Commission's refusal on December 28.
Bukovsky's lawyer, Vadim Prokhorov, had presented to the court a 1976 order by Soviet authorities deporting Bukovsky from the U.S.S.R. to the U.K. in exchange for Chilean Communist leader Luis Corvalan.
Bukovsky received a Russian passport in 1992 from the late Russian president, Boris Yeltsin.
Prokhorov said Bukovsky had lived both in Russia and Britain and other European countries in the past ten years.
"You could just as well say that no one present in this courtroom is eligible to take part in the presidential elections as a candidate because he/she occasionally travels abroad," the lawyer said. The defense team said it would appeal to the Constitutional Court.
The Supreme Court and the Central Election Commission had previously based their decisions on a Foreign Ministry letter saying Bukovsky could not run for president because he had a British residency permit and had failed to produce information about his professional activities.
A writer and publicist, Bukovsky served a total of 12 years in labor camps, prisons, and psychiatric hospitals in the Soviet Union for his "anti-Soviet views."