Russia’s Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision to ban Motherland, or Rodina, the country’s fourth-largest political party, from the Dec. 4 elections, the Bloomberg news agency reported.
The nation’s highest court agreed Friday that the party’s television ad showing dark-skinned vagrants refusing to pick up their watermelon rinds and urging Muscovites to “clean our city of filth” incited racial hatred. The case was initiated by the Liberal Democratic Party, another nationalist party that supports the Kremlin.
“If Rodina wanted to establish order in the country they would have proposed certain legislative acts aimed at solving this problem, for example, a law on repatriation or toughening of the provisions of the Criminal Code on illegal migrants,” Alexei Mitrofanov, a senior LDPR activist, was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying.
The Liberal Democratic Party faced similar charges about its pre-election video. However, the Moscow City Court did not uphold the claim, stating the ads contents were within the limits of decency.
Motherland would have shared second place in the Moscow elections behind United Russia, which is backed by President Vladimir Putin, an opinion poll showed. The new Moscow city Duma will help choose the successor to Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who has run the city since 1992, when his term ends in 2007. Motherland has been critical of Luzhkov, who is heading the United Russia party in the city elections.
“The reason for canceling Motherland’s registration is not because of some ad, but because of the authorities’ fear of the party, its work to disclose the corruption of the Moscow authorities,” party chairman Dmitri Rogozin said in a statement on the party’s Web site.