Kremlin does not want Kasianov to race


The Central Electoral Commission may void the signatures ex-premier collected in his support. Experts and politicians do not think that Kasianov really stands a chance.

Society is being prepared for seeing Mikhail Kasianov denied registration as a candidate for president. Criminal charges under Article 142 of the Criminal Code were pressed against Rustam Abdullin, the head of Kasianov’s election center in the Republic of Mary El. Abdullin is suspected of forgery of signatures in Kasianov’s support. “See what the authorities are doing? That’s lawlessness!” Kasianov exclaimed when the news reached him yesterday.

Experts and politicians suspect that the ex-premier will be denied registration as a candidate. A source from United Russia, for example, claims that there is no point in registering him. “He was allowed to proceed so far because factions in the Kremlin were fighting each other at one point,” the source said. “When Putin made up his mind and designated Medvedev, however, all previously considered options and variants went down the drain.”

Dmitry Badovsky, Assistant Director of the Institute of Social Systems, points out that the powers-that-be never intended to interfere with the procedure of signature collection. The authorities had to show to the country that the new rules they had set were working. Hence the permission to Kasianov, Bogdanov, and Nemtsov to collect signatures.

The Central Electoral Commission’s likely decision to deny Kasianov official registration has nothing to do with his actual electoral potential. According to Badovsky, Kasianov running for president would have mobilized opponents of the regime – what few there are. “Sure, Kasianov will never poll any significant amount of votes but his participation will ruin the plan of the campaign charted by the Kremlin,” Badovsky said. “Image of the regime’s opponent (and that’s how Kasianov will be viewed) may foment a negative mobilization and consolidation of society, and that is not what the Kremlin wants. The campaign as charted by the Kremlin will be centered around presentation of the reforms planned for the near future and around an appeal to the population for support.”

The tandem of Putin and Medvedev is explaining to the population the so called Putin’s Plan, something nobody knew anything about before December 2. “They are telling society, “Support us, support this plan of reforms, innovations, and social programs”… This is what the political task of the presidential campaign under way comes down to. The Kremlin wants more than just voting for Medvedev from the population. It wants support of the program of the reforms,” Badovsky said. “Medvedev is supposed to look like a consolidating factor. Bringing in an opponent into his campaign will be wrong, technologically and politically.”  

Nezavisimaya Gazeta January 17, 2008
Author: Ivan Rodin, Natalia Kostenko.

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