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Court Voids Vote at City Polling Station

Communist and Yabloko supporters protesting Oct. 11 election results on Triumfalnaya Ploshchad on Thursday. Alexander Zemlianichenko

A Moscow court on Thursday canceled the election results at a polling station that failed to document the votes of Yabloko’s leader and his family, the party said.

Yabloko leader Sergei Mitrokhin and his family voted at Polling Station No. 192 during City Duma elections on Oct. 11, but the polling station listed zero votes for Yabloko in its final tally.

The Khamovnichesky District Court voided the results but made no ruling on holding a new vote or disciplining election officials at the polling station.

“The level of falsifications in the Oct. 11 Moscow City Duma elections was unprecedented in modern Russian history,” Mitrokhin wrote in a commentary for The Moscow Times. (Page 8)

“Officials did everything in their power to prevent opposition candidates from registering, and Yabloko was obstructed by local authorities and siloviki structures as early on as the signature collection stage,” he said.

Yabloko, the Communist Party and independent election observers have reported numerous violations during the elections in Moscow and other regions. United Russia swept the vote in all 75 of Russia’s 83 regions where elections were held. In Moscow, United Russia was handed 32 seats in the City Duma, while the Communists got the other three seats.

The Central Elections Commission has declared the elections fair, and President Dmitry Medvedev has praised them as “well-organized.”

Several hundred Communist and Yabloko supporters rallied against the election results Thursday on Triumfalnaya Ploshchad in central Moscow.

Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov reiterated to the crowd that his party would call for the resignation of Central Elections Commission chief Vladimir Churov during a session of the State Duma on Friday, Interfax reported.

Yabloko supporters complained that the Communist organizers of the rally, one of a series held across the country Thursday, had blocked Mitrokhin from addressing the crowd.

Separately, former Soviet cosmonaut Alexander Volkov took up his duties as the new mayor of Star City on Thursday, replacing a jailed ex-security services officer after the first mayoral elections in the tiny, closed town outside Moscow, RIA-Novosti reported.

Volkov was elected to replace retired Federal Security Service Colonel Nikolai Rybkin, who was elected mayor June 28, three days after being arrested in Moscow on charges of smuggling goods from China in a case linked to the smuggling crackdown at Moscow’s Cherkizovsky Market.

Star City houses the training center for the country’s space program and is also home to many retired cosmonauts. Visitors need a special pass to access even residential areas.

Rybkin has been charged with smuggling as part of an organized group and faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted.

Volkov, 61, took part in a series of space flights between 1985 and 1992.

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