Opposition politician Violetta Grudina announces hunger strike following forced hospitalization in Murmansk

Following her involuntary hospitalization in Murmansk on July 14, opposition politician Violetta Grudina has announced a hunger strike. In particular, Grudina is protesting the medical institution’s failure to deliver paperwork to election officials that’s necessary for her nomination for a spot on the ballot in the upcoming City Council elections.

“I draw the attention of society and the government to the fact that the documents I handed over to the head physician did not arrive at the territorial election commission as of July 25, 2021, they were not transferred to my authorized representative, and they also weren’t returned to me,” Grudina wrote in a Facebook post announcing her hunger strike on Monday, July 26. 

The opposition politician is demanding that the hospital administration submit her nomination documents to the Murmansk election commision. She also maintains that the hospital’s chief physician, who is also a candidate from the ruling United Russia party, is the one responsible for withholding her paperwork.

“As of July 26, 2021, Arkady Mikhailovich Amozov, the winner of the United Russia primaries, submitted his documents on self-nomination to the territorial election commission, but is illegally holding mine, hindering my nomination and illegally depriving me of my personal freedom and the right to be elected, [and] isolating me in a COVID-19 hospital that’s under his jurisdiction.”

Violetta Grudina is the former head of Alexey Navalny’s Murmansk campaign office. The authorities opened a criminal case against her on July 9, after she allegedly violated quarantine requirements while recovering from COVID-19. If convicted, she faces two years in prison.

On July 14, a district court ruled in favor of forcibly hospitalizing Grudina pending a negative coronavirus test, following a claim from Rospotrebnadzor (Russia’s consumer protection and human well-being agency). Grudina believes that both Rospotrebnadzor’s claim seeking her involuntary hospitalization and the criminal charges against her are politically motivated.

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