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Russian extremists to air campaign ads

MOSCOW, Nov. 21 (JTA) — Campaign advertisements for an extremist bloc in Russia may hit the airwaves despite efforts to prevent them.

Last week, Russian Chief Rabbi Adolph Shayevich said the Spas bloc’s participation in the election would be “absolutely unacceptable.”

The ads were slated to be aired after the Central Election Commission refused to disqualify Spas, Russian for “Savior,” from taking part in the Dec. 19 elections for the State Duma, Russia’s lower house, even though a court ruled earlier this month that the group’s registration should be canceled.

The court ruled that the bloc did not have approval to run in at least 50 percent of Russia’s 89 regions.

Commission officials say they can rule on the party’s right to run only after a judgment by Moscow’s City Court on the group’s legality.

As a result of the commission’s delay, the party may also be able to take part in televised debates.

Spas was set up by one of the country’s leading extreme-right politicians, Vladimir Davidenko, with the aim of providing an electoral base for Alexander Barkashov, whose Russian National Unity group, the most widely known neo-Nazi organization in Russia, was not allowed to run.

Members of the RNU openly employ anti-Semitic rhetoric, wear swastika-like symbols and give stiff- armed Nazi-style salutes.

Russian authorities appear to be firm in their determination to prevent Spas candidates from taking part in the State Duma elections.

The Ministry of Interior announced last week that it is opening a file against Spas for allegedly forging registration documents.

Earlier this month Russian Justice Minister Yuri Chaika was quoted as saying: “People who propagate fascist ideology can’t run for Russia’s elected offices.”

Some politicians are calling on the government to improve the present election law to exclude a similar situation from occurring in the future.

If the Central Election Commission disqualifies Spas, it will leave 27 parties running in the legislative elections.

Since the election ballots have already been printed, Spas will still likely appear in the No. 4 slot on the ballot.

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