On July 29, a group of district courts in Moscow issued jail sentences to Ilya Yashin, Konstantin Jankauskas, and Alexander Solovyov, all of whom have attempted to register as candidates for the Moscow City Duma and been rejected for what they say are political reasons. Dmitry Gudkov and a number of other would-be opposition candidates for the capital’s citywide legislature may also face jail time. All of the candidates have been charged in connection with the mass protest that gripped Moscow on July 27: 1,373 people were arrested during the course of the event. Most of the candidates are also in the midst of an appeal process to have their candidacy applications reconsidered, and the glimmer of hope that process offers was one of the factors driving protesters into the streets on the 27th. Now, some of the opposition candidates’ supporters are worried that their jail sentences may eliminate what little chance they had of winning their appeals to run for office, which is the protesters’ primary demand. We asked Grigory Melkonyants, who co-chairs the “Golos” (Voice) election rights movement, whether those concerns are justified and why. His response is translated below.

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