Elections of 2004: Geraschenko, Glazyev and Khakamada to become sparring-partners

Deputy Duma Speaker and co-chairwoman of the union of Rightist Forces (SPS) Irina Khakamada confirmed her decision to run for President. “I am ready. However, there still remain so many documents that need to be submitted for myself and for my husband. I do not know if I manage to collect them all in 24 hours,” stated Khakamada.
According to Irina Khakamada, she does not intend to run in repetitive elections in a single member constituency. She states, “I have already seen this depressing picture and Gennady Seleznev on the back bench. There is no influence in the State Duma. I do not see any reason and do not intend to hold on to the Parliament.”
As a reminder, there was a picket on Monday in Moscow in front of the “SPS” headquarters. The picketers demanded Irina Khakamada’s candidacy for the upcoming presidential campaign. There were about 15 groups of people asking for a candidate from democratic forces. They held flags and slogans with Khakamada's name on them.
Meeting's leader, director of a special committee of Khakamada supporters, deputy chairman of “Democratic Russia” Pavel Petov has stated that “the picket's main goal was to denunciate the fact that there had been no candidate from democratic forces.” 
“Organizational Committee considers Irina Khakamada to be the most deserving candidate to lead democratic coalition and to run for President. The Committee demands immediate statement submission from irina Khakamada, since this is an important and mandatory step in the process,” states Petov.
He also added that the current group of Khakamada supporters includes 400 people. Members of youth and women's organizations are also present among her supporters. “We expect another hundred to join the group,” added Petov. He also noted that the Committee expects to hear an answer from Khakamada soon.
In the meantime, Khakamada's Press-Secretary Vitaly Evsegneev reported that neither “Neither Irina herself nor 'SPS' have nothing to do with the event.” “Irina was extremely surprised. Our only answer will be that we will try to find out who was the initiator of this whole event,” remarked Khakamada's press-secretary.  
According to various sources, “SPS” co-leader has granted his permission. Irina Khakamada informed of her intentions to participate in the elections. In her interview to “Gazeta.Ru” Irina Khakamada confirmed the fact that she will run for President in the upcoming elections of 2004.  
One of the leaders of “Yabloko” appears to be quite surprised with Khakamada's statement. Vladimir Lukin is warning Khakamada to “think well.” According to him, there is connection between Nikolay Kharitonov's nomination for candidacy and Khakamada’s possible nomination. “I wish her all the best. I do not know if this means her participation in the elections,” said Lukin. “This is her constitutional right. One can hardly resist one's inner calling and passion, especially women's passion. Personally, I wish her all the luck in case she finally decides to run for president.”
Rizhkov in turn supposes Irina Khakamada will face an extremely tough challenge when participating in the elections. He doubts Khakamada will manage to collect 2 million signatures in such short period of time as well as financing for her election campaign.
Besides, Rizhkov remarked that Khakamada's nomination will only worsen the situation in today’s democratic movement. “'SPS' party has already announced about a possible boycott or voting against all on the day of elections.” Therefore, it appears that there is “a major split of viewpoints” within the party.
Khakamada faces a tough job. Currently, she has about 400 supporters. However, she needs at least 2 million signatures in order to register at the Central elections Commission. Time is running out. Signatures must be submitted before January 28, 2004.
 A competition between candidates from “SPS” and “Rodina” appears to be breathtaking. This will create an illusion of a democratic process in the country. However, will “Yabloko” envy its rival party? Will Yavlinksy compete with Khakamada?

Putin's sparring-partners

According to an official statement from December 30, 2003, the following people will run for presidency in 2004: Vladimir Putin, Vladimir Brintsalov(delegate of Duma’s third convocation), Nikolay Kharitonov (KPRF), Oleg Malishkin (LDPR), Ivan Ribkin (independent), Victor Anpilov (“Working Russia”) Victor Geraschenko (bloc “Rodina”), Segey Glazyev (Independent),  and Anzori Aksentyev-Kikalishvili (independent). 

Dmitry Chirkin

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Author`s name Andrey Mikhailov