MOSCOW: The Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) has registered eight presidential candidates, CEC Chairman Ella Pamfilova announced on Tuesday.
The current head of state Vladimir Putin, who is among the candidates, had already announced his intention to go for the fourth term on Dec. 6, 2017. This year only two of the four parties in the parliament named candidates for t-his position — Vladimir Zhir-inovsky from the Liberal De-mocratic Party (LDPR) and P-avel Grudinin from the Com-munist party.
Five of the candidates have been nominated by opposition parties that are not represented in the Russian Parliament: Boris Titov from the Party of Growth, Grigory Yavlinsky from the party Yabloko, Ksenia Sobchak from the Civil Initiative, Sergei Baburin from the Russian People’s Union, and Maxim Suraykin from the Communists of Russia.
The registration of Pavel Grudinin, a communist businessman, remained in question until the last moment. According to Russian law, presidential nominees are forbidden to have bank accounts abroad, and Grudinin, whose dealings are more in business than politics, has so many accounts in foreign banks that journalists discover them one after another every week.
Boris Titov is the business ombudsman of Russia. The Party of Growth argues for change in the Russian economy, and for this purpose its representatives intend to become integrated into government bodies so that they can actually try to bring about change in the field of economy. According to Titov, the country’s democratization pr-ocess is hindered by the low standard of living, and economic stability and prosperity are the basis for the democratization of the country.
Grigory Yavlinski represents one of the oldest parties in Russia, Yabloko, the only party that participated in the elections to enter the State Duma. Yavlinski, who speaks from a leftist-liberal position, is often criticized for his lack of willpower and for avoiding responsibility because he announced his resignation as the party leader before the parliamentary election.
That came as a blow to the party’s image in a very critical time.
Ksenia Sobchak, the candidate of the Civil Initiative, decided to run for president after it became known that Navalny could not participate in the elections due to his criminal record. Sobchak is the daughter of Anatoly Sobchak, the first mayor of St. Petersburg in whose team Putin began his career. It was Sobchak who introduced Putin to President Boris Yeltsin. And it is known that Putin’s career embarked on an upward trajectory after becoming acquainted with Yeltsin.
After the death of Anatoly Sobchak, Putin began to support the family of the former chief — the wife of Sobchak, Lyudmila Narusova, who has for many years been a senator in the Federation Council of Russia. Ksenia Sobchak was the host of the popular TV show Dom-2 for a very long time, but then transferred to the opposition TV channel of “Rain”, and also participated in anti-government protests in 2011.
Sobchak is the only candidate who does not support the annexation of Crimea. However, she is very careful not to raise any issues that could incur the disapproval of the authorities.
Sergei Baburin and Maxim Suraykin are called “technical candidates”. Political scientists believe that when the right time comes they will withdraw from the race in favor of Pavel Grudinin.