It seems to be election year for everyone. While many of us have been focusing on the U.S. presidential election, some may have forgotten that Russia is having its first Putin-free (well, sorta) election this year since 1996. While it is pretty much a given that Dmitry Medvedev will be the victor, I thought we should give attention to the other candidates.
So, here are the nominees:
Andrei Bogdanov - Leader of the Democratic Party of Russia.
Dmitry Medvedev - Putin's former Chief of Staff and Vice Prime Minister since 2005. He is supported by president Vladimir Putin and the parties United Russia (Russia's largest party), Fair Russia, Agrarian Party, and Civilian Power. He stated that he would appoint Putin as Prime Minister if he was elected prompting many political analysts to believe that he would only act as a figurehead with Putin holding the power. A December 2007 poll found that 79% of Russians would vote for Medvedev if elections were held right then.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky - Nationalist Deputy Speaker of the State Duma and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. He ran for presidency in 1991, 1996 and 2000. Is seen as as the "living embodiment of authoritarianism and militarism in modern Russia." Has been involved in a lot of scandals including his apparent Antisemitism, friendship with Saddam Hussein and support of his regime, and his supposed support of forcibly retaking Alaska, the dumping of nuclear waste in Germany, and the use of nuclear weapons in Japan.
Gennady Zyuganov - Leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and former presidential candidate. Ran for president in 1996 and 2000. In the 1996 election he came in at a close second to Yeltsin with 32% of the vote (Yeltsin received 35%).
Mikhail Kasyanov, former Prime Minister under Yeltsin, current leader of the Popular Democratic Union, and political enemy of Putin was recently disqualified (as in Sunday) when it was discovered that 13% of the required 2 million signatures that qualified him were forged.
Mark March 2nd on your calendars for voting day!