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Police Deny Trying to Shut Down Independent Television Channel's Website

The Moscow region's police department said Friday that it didn't try to block the website of independent television channel Dozhd ("Rain"), just days before the Moscow mayoral elections.

The push to take the news outlet offline would have been seen by many as evidence of fear that the website's potential coverage of voting fraud would have resulted in public unrest.

Domain registrar Ru-Center said earlier Friday that it received an order from the Moscow region's police to block the channel's website.

But the order didn't comply with some unidentified formalities, Ru-Center spokesman Andrei Vorobyov said, Interfax reported.

Vorobyov added that the order could have been a fake, and that it is not the first time a similar incident has occurred.

Opposition candidate Alexei Navalny is the closest challenger to the Kremlin-backed incumbent, Sergei Sobyanin, in the election race, which comes to a head on Sunday.

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