Prominent Candidates for Russia's Presidency

2004 presidential election attracts many candidates
Anzori Aksentyev-Kikakishvili
, an independent candidate. Born in Moscow to a family of a military man on June 24, 1948. Over his childhood, he lived in many cities of Russia as is typical of families of military men. Upon leaving school, Anzori Aksentyev served in the army and then graduated from the Saratov Law Institute; later he became a candidate of juridical sciences. However, he succeeded not as a lawyer but in business. He is the founder of the Association XXI Century company which is well-known in Russia and abroad. Recently, the name of the candidate and his company came up in connection with the scandal about criminal connections of Lithuania President Rolandas Paksas. Lithuanians think that Aksentyev-Kikakishvili is connected with the Russian mafia, and his company is blamed for sale of military technique in Sierra-Leone. However, the reputation of the candidate is not that bad in Russia. He is famous for his philanthropy as he supported Russia's Bolshoi Theatre and the National Olympic Committee. In 1997, Anzori Aksentyev handed the Association XXI Century management over to Russian hockey player Pavel Bure and became the chairman of the All-Russian People's Political Party. In 1999, the party won less than one per cent of votes at the parliamentary election. Aksentyev's attempt to run for presidency in 2000 was not a success, as the candidate failed to collect enough signatures of the electorate.

Vladimir Bryntsalov, an independent candidate. The owner of Russia's well-known pharmaceutical enterprise Ferein was born in the Caucasian city of Cherkessk in the Stavropol Region in 1946. He graduated from the Polytechnic Institute in Novocherkassk. Since his youth, Vladimir Bryntsalov has been a hard-working man. He started working at a technical school and then he became a foreman on a building site. Bryntsalov's sweeping career interrupted in 1979 when he was expelled from the Soviet Communist Party because of his "petty-bourgeois tendencies". But in fact, Bryntsalov's bourgeois tendencies were of a bigger scale. In 1987, Vladimir Bryntsalov was one of the first businessmen who joined cooperative societies that just appeared in the country. He founded an agricultural cooperative; in a couple of years, he became the chairman of the Moscow Association of Medicine Producers that later developed into JSC Ferein. Like any other large-scale bourgeois, Vladimir Bryntsalov started evincing interest in politics rather soon. In 1993, his attempt to enter the Duma failed. In 1995, he was a success when voters from Orekhovo-Zuyevo one-seat constituency delegated him to the parliament. At that time, he belonged to the block headed by one of his today's rivals, Ivan Rybkin. Bryntsalov's bourgeois tendencies became even stronger in the Duma where he joined Our Home Russia faction. In 1996, Vladimir Bryntsalov founded the Russian Socialist Party. The party has never succeeded at the parliamentary election, but the leader of the party became a deputy of the Duma of the third convocation thanks to his devoted electorate from Orekhovo-Zuevo. At the 1996 presidential election, Bryntsalov won only 0.16 per cent of votes.

Sergey Glazyev, an independent candidate. He was born to a family of a factory master in the city of Zaporozhye in 1961. Upon school leaving, he came to Moscow and entered the economy department of the Moscow State University. Until 1991, Sergey Glazyev worked as a research officer at a research institute. He started his public career when the life of the country radically changed: he became the first deputy minister for foreign economic relations and then Russia's minister for foreign economic relations. Glazyev’s ministerial career ended in 1993 when parliamentary election started. He entered the parliament and became the Economic Policy Committee chairman. In 1995, Glazyev's patriotic party The Congress of Russian Communities did not enter the parliament. In 1996, General Alexander Lebed offered Sergey Glazyev a position in the RF Security Council where he was responsible for economic security at first and information analytical activity later. After the 1999 election, Sergey Glazyev got back to the Duma and became chairman of the Economic Policy and Entrepreneurship Committee. At that very period, the idea of natural rent came across his mind. The very idea has given rise to heated discussions today and made Sergey Glazyev the man of the year in 2003 in the rating announced by the Russian Biographical Institute. Sergey Glazyev was the third at the 2002 gubernatorial election in Russia's Krasnoyarsk Region. But in half a year the Rodina block headed by Sergey Glazyev and Dmitry Rogozin won 10 per cent of votes and entered the Duma. Russia will have a patriot president if Sergey Glazyev wins the presidential election in March 2004. The candidate claims himself to be a patriot. 

Viktor Gerashchenko, a candidate from the Rodina block. The candidate was born in Leningrad (now St.Petersburg) in 1937. He is a doctor of economic sciences. Viktor Gerashchenko followed the footsteps of his father who was deputy chairman of the Soviet Union National Bank. Until 1989, the candidate for presidency was working in the Soviet bank system, in Soviet banks abroad and in Vneshtorgbank; in 1989 he was appointed president of the Soviet Central Bank. After the breakup of the USSR he retained the position. In 1992, Viktor Gerashchenko became president of the RF Central Bank. However, he had to resign in 1994 after the "black Tuesday" and the ruble collapse. For four years, Viktor Gerashchenko worked at the International Moscow Bank until another economic crisis in 1998 broke out when he once again took the position of the Central Bank chairman. He stayed on the position till 2002 when retired on a pension. He took an active part in creation of the Rodina block.

Oleg Malyshkin, a candidate from Russia's Liberal Democratic Party. As well as Vladimir Bryntsalov, he graduated from the Polytechnic Institute in Novocherkassk. The candidate is already experienced in governmental management: in 1997 Oleg Malyshkin was elected the head of administration in the Tatsinsky District of Russia's Rostov Region. He turned out to be a non-typical manager as he introduced strict price control for food and visited the grain elevator accompanied by gunners because the administration conflicted with the enterprise because of money. In 2001, Oleg Malyshkin became the first deputy chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party and the chief of Vladimir Zhirinovsky's security. Oleg Malyshkin is a person of almost the same scale as the party leader Zhirinovsky. After TV debates on November 21, the candidate attacked former prime minister Mikhail Delyagin and Yabloko deputy chairman Sergey Mitrokhin. The incident forced the Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky apologize to the TV debates host and dismiss Oleg Malyshkin. In his letter to the TV host, Vladimir Zhirinovsky said he had sent the hot-tempered party member home, to the Rostov Region. The party decided to nominate Oleg Malyshkin for the presidential election when Vladimir Zhirinovsky gave up the idea of running for presidency. Oleg Malyshkin became a candidate for presidency after two rounds of democratic voting at a party congress on December 26.

Sergey Mironov, a candidate nominated by the Russian Party of Life. The candidate was born in the city of Pusnkin in the Leningrad Region on February 14, 1953; he is a son of a war veteran. After he served in the army, Sergey Mironov entered the Leningrad Mining Institute as he cherished a dream of being a geologist. Before the year of 1991, he participated in 18 expeditions, but gave up the profession because, as the website of the Russian Party of Life reports, "the traditions of the Soviet geology were over". Sergey Mironov started his career on the securities market. In 1993, he became the chief executive of the Revival of St.Petersburg construction company that was privatized following Anatoly Chubais' model. In 1994, Sergey Mironov was elected a member of the St.Petersburg City Assembly as a representative of the All Petersburg block. At the Assembly he got acquainted with many of today’s prominent political figures. In 1998, Sergey Mironov once again became a member of the St.Petersburg Legislative Assembly and was elected deputy chairman of the Legislative Assembly in June 2000. Before the appointment, he worked as a deputy head of Vladimir Putin's pre-election headquarters in St.Petersburg. In May 2001, Sergey Mironov was delegated to the RF Federation Council and became the chairman of the Council in December 2001. Prolongation of presidential office was the first legislative initiative suggested by Sergey Mironov on the post of the Federation Council chairman. When he announced his decision to run for presidency in March 2004, Sergey Mironov stated he unconditionally supported the incumbent president of Russia.

Vladimir Putin, an independent candidate. The incumbent president was born on October 7, 1952. He graduated from the law department of the Leningrad State University in 1975 and started his career in national security. Vladimir Putin served at the KGB Intelligence Department, since 1985 he worked in Germany. In 1990, he got back to Leningrad and started working as an assistant for international problems to the vice-president of the Leningrad State University; then he became an advisor to Chairman of the Leningrad City Council Anatoly Sobchak. In 1994, Vladimir Putin became the first deputy chairman of St.Petersburg Government. In 1996, he was appointed deputy business manager of the Presidential Administration. In May 1998, Vladimir Putin became the first deputy head of the Presidential Administration, and later in July 1998, he became the FSB director. Putin's career was incredibly sweeping: in March 1999 he was appointed secretary of the RF Security Council, in five months he became the prime minister and on December 31, 1999 - acting president of Russia. At the presidential election on March 26, 2000 Vladimir Putin won 52.94 per cent of votes and became the president after the first round of the election. 

Ivan Rybkin, an independent candidate. He was born to a peasant's family inRussia's Voronezh Region on October 20, 1946. He graduated from the mechanics department of the Volgograd Agriculture Institute, then he finished the post-graduate course and started his research and lecturing activity. In 1987, Ivan Rybkin was appointed first secretary of the Soviet Communist Party in Volgograd. In 1990, he became a people's deputy of Russia. After the summer constituent congress of the Russian Soviet Communist Party, Ivan Rybkin became known as one of the leaders of the Communist and Socialist movement in the post-soviet Russia. In October 1993 he supported the parliament during the coup-d'etat. When the Supreme Council was dissolved, Ivan Rybkin became a deputy of Russia's State Duma. In January 1994, he became the speaker of the State Duma and kept the position till the end of the Duma convocation. In December 1995, he was once again elected a deputy of the Duma, but Ivan Rybkin's Block that he founded failed to enter the Duma. The deputy supported Boris Yeltsin at the 1996 election. In October 1996, the RF president issued a decree according to which Ivan Rybkin was appointed secretary of the RF Security Council and presidential envoy to the Chechen republic. Within March - May 1998, Ivan Rybkin held the vice-premier position. In 1998 - 2002, he worked as a presidential envoy in the CIS; in 2002 Ivan Rybkin founded the Dykhovnoye Nasledie (Spiritual Legacy) socialist united party. However, the leftists and Ivan Rybkin soon split because of the Chechen problem. Ivan Rybkin always insisted that separatists must be negotiated with; he sent a letter to President Putin in June 2002 and demanded that military operations in Chechnya must be stopped. The candidate is known in Europe for his meeting with Ichkeria Republic emissary Ahmed Zakayev. In October 2003, Rybkin's evidence at the London Court resulted in rejection of Ahmed Zakayev's extradition to Russia. Exiled Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky will finance Rybkin's participation in the 2004 presidential election.

A Communist Party candidate, Nikolay Kharitonov was born in the village of Rezino in the Novosibirsk Region on October 30, 1948. He graduated from the Novosibirsk Agriculture Institute and started his career in the countryside. In 1976, he became the director of a collective farm and at the same time was conferred the rank of FSB colonel. In 1990, Nikolay Kharitonov became a deputy. At that very period, he joined the agrarian faction of the Supreme Council. In 1993 he took an active part in creation of Russia's Agrarian Party and was elected deputy chairman of the party. He managed to enter the Duma during the elections in 1993 and 1995 and was the chairman of the Agrarian Committee. In 1999, Nikolay Kharitonov fell out with the party colleagues because of the preferences at the coming parliamentary election. Chairman of the Agrarian Party and other members supported Otechestvo (Motherland), but Nikolay Kharitonov and his supporters were still devoted to the Communist Party. Nikolay Kharitonov became a candidate number nine on the Communist Party list and entered the Duma. In fact, he remained a member of the Agrarian Party board till April 2003. He took part in the recent parliamentary election as a representative of the Communist Party. Nikolay Kharitonov is the founder of Duma's football team.

Independent candidate Irina Khakamada was born on April 13, 1955. She graduated from the economy department of the Moscow International University. In 1984, she defended a Ph.D. thesis. Her father is a Japanese communist who emigrated to the Soviet Union after WWII. Khakamada's origin posed a problem for finding a good job in the Soviet epoch. In 1989 she lectured political economy. Soon, she gave up her lecturing activity and became the deputy chairman of the Systems+Programs cooperative. She took part in creation of the Russian National Commercial Bank and the Agency of Economic Information. In 1992, together with Konstantin Borovoy, Irina Khakamada created the Party of Economic Freedom. The party failed to enter the Duma in 1993, but Irina Khakamada became a Duma deputy as an independent candidate. In 1994, she fell out with Konstantin Borovoy and abdicated the responsibilities of the secretary general of the Party of Economic Freedom. In 1995, Irina Khakamada became the leader of Obshchee Delo (Common Business) association; the association failed to enter the Duma, but Irina Khakamada once again managed to enter the Duma as a candidate from one-seat constituency. By the 1999 election she was one of the three leaders of Union of Right-Wing Forces and entered the Duma. In June 2000, Irina Khakamada was elected vice-speaker of the Duma. When the SPS failed the 2003 parliamentary election, Irina Khakamada said the right-wing forces should not participate in the presidential election in 2004. However, she soon changed her mind and became registered as an independent candidate for presidency.

These are the ten candidates who have already claimed they would run for presidency. Let us wait and see how many of them will stand the pre-election race.

Yelena Lyub

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Author`s name Michael Simpson