Russia’s upper house sets date for next year’s presidential election

The upper house of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, has set the date of the country’s upcoming presidential elections for 17 March.

On Friday, the Central Electoral Commission is due to consider a draft resolution on voting being held over three days again, as it has been in recent years.

Commentators had expected the Federation Council to announce the election date on 13 December — the day before the Direct Line phone-in event with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which he is likely to announce his intention to run for president again.

On Wednesday, self-declared presidential candidate Yekaterina Duntsova reported her bank had blocked donations to her campaign from supporters. Duntsova said that VTB Bank had made the move within three minutes of her requesting financial assistance to hold meetings with potential voters in the cities of Tver, St. Petersburg and Moscow.

“The Federation Council is due to officially announce the election date tomorrow, so we only have two days to raise funds — today and tomorrow! The next chance to support me will be after the official electoral account is opened at the end of December,” she had warned.

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