Who are Medvedev’s likely rivals?
The Communists have, according to tradition, nominated their leader, Gennady Zyuganov, while the Liberal Democratic Party has again put forward its leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
“Nobody has the right to say that the outcome is pre-determined, especially, in the first round. On the contrary, we should tell people that there are many candidates, that there will be struggle, and that most likely there will be a run-off,” Vladimir Zhirinovsky said.
The non-parliamentary opposition have also been active early.
Former World Chess Champion and the Other Russia Coalition leader Garry Kasparov is one of the opposition candidates. A fierce critic of the current government, Kasparov says Dmitry Medvedev would be a puppet leader.
“We can only guess why Medvedev was picked, probably, because he is the weakest, the least impressive among other potential successors, and maybe Medvedev as a candidate and as a successor, offers Putin the best chance to influence events in the future,” Garry Kasparov suggested.
Kasparov’s opinion was echoed by another opposition candidate from the Union of Right Forces, Boris Nemtsov, who’s a former deputy Prime Minister.
“This is a person that this ruling clan needs, and not one that is needed by Russia. From a wider perspective, it is very bad for the country, because people have the right to be given the chance to elect their president by fair means,” Boris Nemtsov commented.
The leader of the People's Democratic Union also entered the race. Putin’s first Prime Minister from 2000 through 2004, Mikhail Kasyanov, became increasingly critical of the Russian leader after his resignation.
“Our chances are just to keep ourselves strong. It means just to stay on our constitutional rights and to demand that authorities should let us implement our rights. And as soon as people understand that they create public pressure on authorities and that is our demand for the president, for all authorities to arrange free and fair presidential elections,” Mikhail Kasyanov explained.
The two non-parliamentary candidates have only a slim chance of getting the two million signatures from voters, which are needed for registration with the Central Election Commission.
Only parties present in the State Duma are allowed to nominate candidates without sign-up campaigns.
This has led some analysts to doubt the ballot papers will carry the names of more than three or four candidates.