01:02 GMT19 June 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - By allowing political advertising on their resources on the election day, Google and Facebook deliberately attempted to influence the results of the September 8 elections in Russia, Alexander Zharov, head of the Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor, said Monday.

    "A year ago, on the eve of the 2018 election, we discussed with Google and Facebook in detail the need to comply with the Russian law, which clearly stipulates that on the eve of the 'day of silence,' political advertising is prohibited", Zharov told reporters.

    "However, on election day [this year], if you looked at the search results and compared the search results of the Yandex search engine and the Google search engine for the same queries like 'election 2019,' or 'whom should I vote for', and so on, the search results were completely different. That’s why we can say that Google and Facebook deliberately tried to influence the results of the elections that took place on 8 September", he stressed.

    On 8 September, Roskomnadzor said that it had discovered political ads on Google and Facebook websites, in violation of the Russian law, and considered it an intervention into Russia's domestic affairs.

    Russia held regional elections on Sunday, including elections to the Moscow's city legislature. Some 57 nominees out of 233 were denied registration due to an insufficient number of valid signatures of eligible voters required for admittance to run in the race.

    The opposition candidates described the denials as an alleged infringement on electoral rights, staging authorized and unauthorized protests in the Russian capital this summer.


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