Divided they fall? Opposition can't agree on single candidate
“The current political course is leading the Russian Federation to destruction,” says Mikhail Kasyanov, a presidential hopeful.
Mikhail Kasyanov was the Prime Minister of Russia from January 2000 until February 2004, and oversaw many of the policies he now condemns. While Kasyanov pledges to free the country from corruption, his own reputation has some blemishes.
For his former ally and a former chess champion Garry Kasparov, the game is becoming tougher. He's now isolated after parting ways with Kasyanov and another former ally, Eduard Limonov.
Just days ago Eduard Limonov, the leader of the Nationalist Bolshevik Party, stood side by side with Kasparov. Now he says his movement may support the Communists if they don’t nominate their long-time leader Gennady Zyuganov as a presidential candidate.
But the Communists, the only opposition party with enough support to get into parliament, won’t budge.
“Everybody understands that the Communist Party is the only viable opposition force in Russia. We’ll nominate our candidate, and other parties can decide whether to support him or not,” commented Ivan Melnikov from the Communist Party of Russia.
Former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky sees a bitter irony in the Communists being Russia’s strongest opposition force. But he feels a Kremlin-nominated successor is hardly any better. So he says he's stepping into the race to provide an alternative.
“We are trying to help people make the election real – and not become just a farce,” said Vladimir Bukovsky, presidential hopeful.
A notable political activist in the 1970s, Bukovsky is little known in modern Russia. He holds dual citizenship and hasn’t lived in Russia for more than 30 years, which, according to the constitution, makes him ineligible for the presidential race.
But he’s attempting to run anyway, which makes him similar to other opposition leaders. None of them has enough support to win on their own, but none seems willing to join forces.