For a considerable part of the political opposition in Russia, elections have been something to be watched from the sidelines. While opposition candidates are formally blocked for legal-administrative reasons, they have repeatedly claimed that registration refusals are politically motivated and that election committees apply the law differently depending on the candidates’ political affiliation. By analyzing the perceptions of double standards as well as actual enforcement practice and structural incentives, this article identifies the core mechanics of this quasi-legal mechanism of political pre-election filtering in Russian elections.

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