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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016




Age: 45

Formally the deputy head of the Congress of Russian Communities, retired Lieutenant General Lebed has been fingered as a possible presidential contender ever since he was forced to resign his commission last year over sharp criticism of the military top brass and Yeltsin's reform policies. A charismatic figure, he was to be the engine to propel his party to prominence. Since the CRC failed to get into parliament, Lebed has been casting about for a base. While billing himself as a patriot and a great- power advocate, he has joined a Duma faction affiliated with the Communists. Once thought to be the front runner, Lebed is no longer considered a serious threat to Zyuganov or Yeltsin.



Age: 64

The first and last president of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev has yet to affiliate himself with any of Russia's current political parties. He has not yet firmly declared his intention to run for the presidency, but has hinted strongly that he would like to join the race on a left-of-center platform. While it was Gorbachev's policy of perestroika that began the process of reform in the country, the ex-president now publicly laments the break-up of the Soviet Union and bitterly criticizes his longtime foe, Boris Yeltsin, for the excesses of the latter's privatization policies. Gorbachev has minimal support in Russia, despite his continuing popularity in the West, and is not likely to be among the front runners.



Age: 68

Head of the centrist Workers' Self-Government Party, renowned eye surgeon Fyodorov is a newcomer to politics. He advocates the mass creation of joint-stock companies to guarantee workers a share of profits, the removal of most taxes and a ban on the exports of most raw materials. A wealthy entrepreneur who owns a string of hotels and casinos, he represents himself as a third force in Russian politics, and says he draws inspiration from former U.S. presidential candidate Ross Perot. Fyodorov's party received slightly more than 3 percent of the vote in December's parliamentary elections, and he is not expected to be a serious contender for the presidential race.



Age: 43

Head of the liberal Yabloko Party, Yavlinsky is the one true reformer in the presidential race. He is equally opposed to the Communists and to Yeltsin's government. While he favors a liberal market economy, he says that the price that Russia has paid for its transition to a market economy is too high.Yavlinsky has made no secret of the fact that he wants to be president, and his ambition has contributed to the split in the democratic camp. His party was the only reformist group to make it into parliament, with 7 percent of the vote.Yavlinsky is unlikely to gain the Kremlin this time around, but his participation in the race could take a substantial number of votes away from Yeltsin and facilitate a Communist victory.



Age: 49

Head of the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party, Zhirinovsky is an exotic blend of aggressive nationalism, populism and xenophobia. He rose to prominence after he came in third in the 1991 presidential race by promising the population cheap vodka. His party gained a surprise victory in the 1993 parliamentary elections, sparking fears in the West that Russia was poised on the verge of fascism. A colorful and gifted campaigner, Zhirinovsky showed that he still had the power to surprise in the December parliamentary elections, with his party coming in second after the Communists. He is unlikely to win the presidency, but with Zhirinovsky, nothing can be ruled out.