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Though signatures were forged, no criminal charges were filed

The inter-district Investigation Department of Investigation Authority ruled that no criminal charges will be filed for forgery of signatures in Teykovo city, Ivanovo region. The law enforcement officials have decided that the falsification of documents is a minor offense requiring no further investigation.

A member of Teykovo city district election commission (DEC) No. 12, coordinator of 'Golos' movement in Ivanovo city Irina Maltseva has filed a complaint concerning the forged voters' signatures in support of nomination of candidates R. D. Astafiev and A. V. Busarev for the Election to the Regional Ivanovo Duma in the single-member constituency No. 12 under the Articles 144 and 145 of the Criminal Procedure Code ('Procedure for consideration of alleged offence' and respectively 'Decisions made following the consideration of alleged offence').

About 50 persons were interviewed and the fact of forgery was 'objectively verified'. However, a decision was made not to open an investigation on the grounds provisioned in the paragraph 2 of part 1 of Article 24 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation due to the absence of corpus delicti.

Irina Maltseva has been fighting since August. During the election campaign in Teikovo she started having doubts about the authenticity of some signatures collected in support of the candidates Roman Astafiev ('Civic Platform'), Alexander Hraznov ('Patriots of Russia') and Andrei Busarev ('Russian Party of Pensioners for Justice') in Gorki village. Therefore, she filed a complaint to the police.

Ms. Maltseva raised some doubts because the signatures were collected in a very short term. Moreover, on the first day candidates had to open an election bank account and to pay for the printing of voter signature sheets. Maltseva has spoken with the Gorki residents and they confirmed her allegations.

'I was appointed to the commission just after the registration had been closed. I have read the commission documents to familiarize with the decisions that have already been made and the its procedures. In my opinion, I have noticed numerous forged signatures. The signatures were not collected door-to-door, but forged somewhere behind the closed doors using the databases ... By now [25 August 2016] no decisions were taken to initiate investigation of my allegations, but on the contrary, some efforts are put to preclude it. For example, they did not hand over the documents to the police for verifying my allegations', - she said to IvanovoNews concerning the signature issues.

It also became known that the respective signature sheets were issued on the day of registration of candidates, when the bank of election accounts was already closed. In fact, on that day the candidates could not be able to open a bank account. Moreover, the printing house could not be able to print the sheets, receive remuneration for the provided service and deliver them. The contentious signatures in support of candidates from non-parliamentary parties were collected by the party members of 'United Russia', 'Youth Guard', 'New Frontier'.

On September 8, the Communist Party candidate Mikhail Kraynov, who nominated Maltseva to the commission, tried to initiate criminal proceedings to eliminate his opponents Astafiev, Hraznov and Busarev from the electoral race. Kraynov has claimed that the district election commission No. 12 took an illegitimate decision on registration of the above-mentioned candidates without properly verifying the signatures, signature sheets and identity of persons collecting signatures. The court ruled that Kraynov's claims were not substantiated, based on an erroneous interpretation of the election law. Therefore, the case was dismissed.

UPD: The Prosecutor's Office quashed the decision of Investigation Authority and reopened the investigation. You can watch ‘Bars’ video footage about this starting the video at 22 min 50 seconds) (in Russian).