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18 Sep, 2007 05:12

Lugovoy warming up for Duma race

Russian businessman Andrey Lugovoy has been nominated as number two in the Russian Liberal Democratic Party's list of Duma candidates. He says he has the necessary skills to hold a seat in the Parliament.

During the media briefing held by the party in Moscow today, he said that 16 years working in the army and the security services have made him a good candidate for the State Duma.

Mr Lugovoy’s nomination feeds controversy around him as he is still wanted by Britain on charges of allegedly killing former security officer, Aleksandr Litvinenko, in London last year.

At the joint media briefing together with the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) ,Vladimir Zhirinovsky,  Mr Lugovoy said that joining the LDPR was his ideological choice, because of the party’s pro-Russian stance and support of the armed forces.

Mr Lugovoy reiterated that the Litvinenko case damaged his business reputation. He also said that with his military and security experience, he could help the LDPR. He could lobby for protecting people in uniform in Russia.

“My post to be a Deputy in the Russian State Duma is based on national ideas. I joined the LDPR for ideological reasons. I always liked the stance of its leader, and the whole party in general, as they defended servicemen, and I am an officer myself. Being in the centre of an international scandal, I realized it is impossible to defend a Russian citizen without his own country providing security. Unlike the other parties, the LDPR has always defended servicemen,” Mr Lugovoy stated.

Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky said at the briefing that the LDPR expects to get from 15 to 20% of the votes during the Parliamentary elections. He also said that Andrey Lugovoy will help the party to become stronger by being involved in the defence, security and economic departments of the party.

Mr Lugovoy’s nomination is very advantageous for both the LDPR and himself. Over the last ten years, the LDPR has lost over a half of its voters, and now need some well-know figures to revive its popularity. This could possibly be achieved with Mr Lugovoy’s publicity. Andrey Lugovoy himself will gain immunity from any legal proceeding in Russia if the LDPR wins 7% of the votes, and enters Russia's Lower House of Parliament.

Andrey Lugovoy said going into politics was the only and the best way for him to restore  justice in his case.