Moscow authorities have reportedly denied three opposition figures looking to challenge Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin in his re-election campaign this fall a chance to get on the ballot.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny almost forced Sobyanin into the second round with an intensive grassroots campaign in 2013, in large part because he was able to clear a so-called “municipal filter,” a law requiring candidates to gather signatures from majority Kremlin-approved Moscow council members.

This time, Sobyanin’s challengers will not be allowed to clear the municipal filter on Election Day, the opposition-leaning Dozhd television channel reported Friday, citing an unnamed Kremlin official and the mayor’s campaign member.

The incumbent mayor “doesn’t need” opponents that include city council members Ilya Yashin and Dmitry Gudkov, as well as gay journalist Anton Krasovsky, the anonymous sources reported.

Another source told Dozhd the September 9 mayoral race needs “boring” challengers because a decision has been reached to avoid a “fun” campaign, while one more source was quoted saying the three challengers would “be useless” in Moscow City Hall’s attempt to increase voter turnout.

Gudkov and Yashin have debated which of them who would pose a more serious challenge to Sobyanin.

Yashin declined to comment on what he called “rumors” in the Dozhd report, while Krasovsky said he was unaware of City Hall’s plans. Gudkov wrote on Telegram that he will continue seeking registration, saying “it’s not for City Hall to decide who to allow in the elections.”

“And also, I have a Plan B,” he wrote.
Reports: Opposition Candidates Denied Spot in Moscow Mayoral Run

Putin's man Sergei Sobyanin

Dmitry Gudkov and Ilya Yashin

They are old allies, who led lots of protests together, and neither is a stranger to being arrested and such, especially Yashin

In recent times, however, they split, like all liberal opposition in Russia.

Yashin now hangs out with Navalny instead

and protests with him mostly

while Gudkov has got together with former Presidential "Candidate" Ksenia Sobchak

they even launched their own political party together this year

Yashin calls Sobchak a shill for the Kremlin, a privileged (her mom is a senator and late father - St. Petersburg Governor and Putin's own political mentor) little princess posing as a oppositioner because Putin told her to. The fact that she is also Yashin's ex-girlfriend who dumped him to marry some actor may have something to do with his bitterness also haha

And then, there is Anton Krasovsky

He used to work on national, Kremlin-run television. In 2013, he came out live on air, and was fired immediately:

He is HIV-positive himself and a well known advocate for Russian people with HIV, gay or straight.

He associated also with Sobchak before, was involved with her Presidential so-called "Campaign"

but quit and "publicly accused Sobchak of defrauding him of his payment and treating people in the HQ as her serfs": Russian gay rights activist announces Moscow mayor bid

It is all stupid as hell, to me, liberals running THREE different candidates, splintering the hell out of their support base, for no good reason, when they are weak and outnumbered enough as is, even in Moscow...

Navalny, running alone back in 2013, scored 27.24%:,_2013

And that's with very heavy and obvious rigging in Sobyanin's favour. In an actual fair election, many say he would have won, in first round... Now, with three guys, however many of them actually make it to the election, they've already split their support and are alienating each others' voters... WTF are they doing???

And yes, there will be likely even worse rigging than in '13, this time around. That's why they need all the unity and support they can muster, not THIS...