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LDPR leader Leonid Slutsky will run in Russia’s presidential election — his foundation shares foreigners' data with the GRU to recruit them

The Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) has nominated Leonid Slutsky as the party’s candidate in Russia’s upcoming presidential election, with 106 out of 108 delegates voting in his favor. The party did not consider any other candidates.

According to a report by Vedomosti, the governor of the Khabarovsk Region, Mikhail Degtyarev, proposed Slutsky's nomination. His candidacy was also supported by the convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, currently a deputy in the Ulyanovsk regional parliament. Nicknamed the “Merchant of Death,” Bout was sentenced to 25 years in prison in the United States after being found guilty of arms trafficking and supporting a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. He returned to Russia in December 2022 in exchange for the release of WNBA player Brittney Griner.

“As is written in the Constitution and as our president Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin says, the people and only the people are the source of power [in Russia]. Our people have the right to choose. LDPR has always given, gives and will always give such a choice, in line with Vladimir Volfovich Zhirinovsky’s legacy. Today we have to nominate a candidate for the Russian presidency, and I propose to nominate our chairman Leonid Eduardovich Slutsky,” Degtyarev said.

Earlier in December, The Insider obtained official correspondence from employees of the GRU's 1st “European” Directorate [the GRU is Russia's military intelligence agency — translator's note]. The emails included files with screenshots of dozens of foreigners' passports — scientists, professors from the world's biggest universities, as well as public and religious figures — all of whom came to Russia at the invitation of Leonid Slutsky's Russian Peace Foundation. The same foundation previously helped the Kremlin liaise with European radicals like France's “yellow vest” movement and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Slutsky was appointed head of the LDPR faction in the State Duma in May 2022. This followed the announcement of longtime LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky's death on April 6. Earlier, during a plenary session, he spoke in favor of lifting the moratorium on the death penalty for “Nazi criminals” — according to Slutsky, an exception could be made in the law because as they deserved such a severe punishment.

In 2018, Alexei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF) uncovered a Moscow penthouse worth around 400 million roubles belonging to Slutsky's wife Lidia Lyskova (more on that here — available in Russian only).

In 2018, TV Rain (Dozhd) reported that Slutsky had sexually harassed multiple female journalists accredited to Russia’s parliament. The State Duma Ethics Committee investigated the journalists' complaints, finding Slutsky innocent and the allegations against him “groundless” and “premeditated.” A number of Russian publications boycotted Slutsky in protest and suspended coverage of his activities in the State Duma. On social networks, Slutsky was nicknamed zaichutka (“little bunny”), which, according to one journalist, is how he used to address her while being harassed in his office. Slutsky himself has denied all the allegations.

Several days ago, an initiative group supported the nomination of journalist Yekaterina Duntsova as a candidate in the Russian presidential election. She now has until January 25 to collect at least 300,000 signatures from the residents of Russia's regions for her nomination and have them verified as authentic. Duntsova supports ending the war in Ukraine, democratic reforms and releasing political prisoners.

Duntsova, who lives in the town of Rzhev in Russia’s Tver Region, is 40 years old and has three children. She volunteers as a coordinator in a local search and rescue team, which looks for missing children and adults. She was previously a deputy in the Rzhev City Duma.

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