MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Russian court has barred a candidate promoted by Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in the last video before his sudden illness from running for a seat on the city council in Novosibirsk, Siberia, Navalny’s team said on Monday.
“We learned today that a court had barred our candidate (Daniil) Markelov from elections,” Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said in the video, published on YouTube.
Navalny filmed the video promoting Novosibirsk opposition candidates during his trip to Siberia, days before he collapsed on his flight back to Moscow. The local election is scheduled for Sept. 13.
His allies published the footage on Monday and it was viewed nearly half a million times in the hours after its release.
“One of the most prosperous cities in the world could be here but a Russian panel ghetto grew instead,” Navalny said in the video, referring to concrete panels used in Russia since the Soviet era for building multi-storey apartment blocks.
“Our goal is to free the capital of Siberia from the occupiers,” he said.
Markelov had been expected to run against local developer Alexei Dzhulai from the ruling United Russia party. United Russia’s local office could not be immediately reached for comment.
Navalny is in a medically-induced coma in a Berlin hospital, which said its initial medical examination pointed to poisoning, though Russian doctors who had treated Navalny in a Siberian hospital have contradicted that diagnosis.
The regional court withdrew Markelov’s registration as candidate after finding that two of 121 signatures in his support were invalid, Markelov said. He told Reuters he would appeal the decision in the Russian supreme court.
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