On 30 October, Russia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) said that it would hold an official investigation regarding the Election Commission of the Far-Eastern Khabarovsk territory in the wake of election of Dmitry Priyatnov, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, to the upper house of Russian parliament. The man appears to have a past conviction.
CEC is starting an investigation into the activities of the Khabarovsk territory Election Commission that failed to establish a criminal record of Dmitry Priyatnov, a candidate from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) for the regional Duma. He had stood trial for document forgery, and the conviction was removed from official records in 2009. Priyatnov himself, as well as the LDPR functionaries who had drafted the party ticket, hushed up his criminal record. As a result, he was elected to the regional legislature on the party ticket and later, on the basis of the legislature’s quota, was delegated to the Federation Council. The Russian daily Kommersant states that Priyatnov’s appointment as a senator was arranged by his party associates, who had formed a majority in the regional duma by winning 30 of the 36 mandates. Nikolai Bulayev, CEC deputy chairperson, claimed that there had been no information about Priyatnov's criminal record, and it had become public on October 16, only a month after the elections, following an investigation by the media. Bulayev is convinced that Gennady Nakushnov, the head of the regional election commission concealed Priyatnov's criminal record on purpose. CEC Chairperson Ella Pamfilova added that Nakushnov would be investigated. In her opinion, in order to prevent such incidents, a register of criminal records available to the security officials and the Central Election Commission should be created. A database of this kind would allow checking both potential candidates and election commission members for restrictions on participation in the election process. Pamfilova spoke for the first time about the need for the register at the beginning of this year. Electoral law expert Roman Smirnov says that the current legislation obliges candidates to inform about their criminal records. He believes that since Priyatnov has concealed it, the legitimacy of his election both to the regional duma and the Federation Council raises questions. However, Wek’s sources in the CEC claim that the cancellation of Priyatnov's mandates is highly unlikely, since this will require to set a precedent and to declare the decisions of both the election commission and the regional duma illegal. Considering the fact that Priyatnov was not elected in a single-mandate constituency, but on a political party ticket, it is impossible to prove the impact of concealing the criminal records on the election results.