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Russian Social Network Now Allows Political Advertising - but There's a Catch

Maxim Stulov / Vedomosti

Russian social network VKontakte has opened its advertising space for political candidates in the lead up to Russia's presidential election, but only for registered candidates reported Global Voices. 

According to the changed rules, the ban on political advertising has been amended to allow "campaign materials." Before being put on VKontakte, the materials must be presented to the country's Central Election Commission.

A list of mandatory documents includes "The Russian Federation Central Election Commission's decision on registering a candidate" according to the website's terms of service.

This has raised fears among some political analysts that the new rules will sideline opposition candidates such as Alexey Navalny, who are not registered with the Central Election Commission. 

Navalny, who is running for the presidency in 2018, would not be allowed to run campaign advertisements under the new rules.

Other smaller opposition parties who are not registered with the Commission could also be barred from running campaign advertisements on VK under the new rules.

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