This case is part of a developing disinformation narrative promoted by pro-Kremlin media outlets in response to the 2021 Russian legislative (Duma) elections which took place on 17th-19th September 2021.
There are legitimate concerns about the freedom of 2021 parliamentary elections in Russia. For example, for the first time since 1993, the OSCE will not send election observers to Russia, as the Russian authorities put last-minute limits on the number of observers allowed. These limits were so low that it would not allow the OSCE to work in an effective and thorough manner (OSCE had planned to have 500 observers but Russia only authorised 60).
See here the EU declaration following the Duma elections.
According to Amnesty International, ahead of the elections the Russian authorities are both stepping up repression against their critics and using ever more direct ways of eliminating their political opponents. In previous elections, the main tools for eliminating unwanted candidates were refusals to register them or their disqualification for minor or imaginary infringements of the electoral process. This time, the authorities are applying a much more heavy-handed and sinister approach.
More and more media outlets in Russia are being arbitrarily declared 'foreign agents', essentially restricting freedom of the press and freedom of expression. Attempts to censor the content on the Internet are also increasing with ever more court cases against platform operators; examples here, here and here.
Read similar cases in our database that claims that the West wants to influence elections in Russia and supports anti-State powers; or that the West trying to interfere in Russia’s legislative elections; or that for the West, Russian elections will always be "bad"; or that foreign election monitors did not notice a big difference between the elections in the EU and in Russia.