(TASS) – In a recent Twitter post, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described US Department of State’s comments on the rejection of Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny’s presidential bid as “meddling in the Russian elections.”
“This statement by the US Department of State, which I’m sure will not be the only one, is a direct interference into the electoral process and the state’s domestic affairs,” she said.
A US Department of State spokesperson earlier told TASS that the agency was concerned by Russia’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC)’s decision to bar blogger Alexei Navalny from running for president in 2018 due to his felony conviction.
“The funniest thing about it, is that this statement was made by the same people, who put the foreign agent label on RT and Sputnik, persecuted Russian media worldwide and invested vast sums in ‘countering Russian propaganda,’” Zakharova said.
On December 25, Russia’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC) refused to register a group of electors in support of Navalny’s self-nomination. According to the CEC, a gathering of an electors’ group in support of Navalny’s nomination to run for president complies with the legislation but he has no right to enter the presidential campaign over his conviction that has not been expunged.
In February 2017, Navalny was handed a five-year suspended sentence with a probation period of one year and five months as part of the Kirovles embezzlement case.
Under Russia’s law, citizens who have outstanding convictions for grave and especially grave crimes are barred from running in presidential elections. At the same time, those committing grave crimes are deprived of the opportunity to run for president for ten years after their convictions are expunged, while those convicted for especially grave crimes do not have a chance to run in elections for 15 years.