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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Zyuganov Presidential Bid Gets Support of 50 Parties

Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov received the endorsement of an additional 23 political parties and organizations Monday, raising the number of registered groups that officially support his presidential bid to more than 50.

"This shows not only our vast and increasingly growing electoral strength, but the fact that so many of these groups have the same goal, the restoration of our nation to health and well-being," said Irina Makareyeva, a spokeswoman for the Communist Party.

Some of the declarations of support came from politicians who had previously distanced themselves from Zyuganov. Alexander Rutskoi, head of the nationalist party Derzhava, as well as Viktor Anpilov, head of the hardline communist group Working Russia, both signed on despite earlier public grievances with Zyuganov and his party.

Among the other endorsers were the Union of Cossack Officers and the nationalist Russian Party, as well a host of other lesser-known leftist and nationalist organizations. Zyuganov had earlier gained the support of the Agrarian Party of Russia, the Power to the People! movement and the Agrarian Union.

The new wave of endorsements shows the increasing strength of Zyuganov's Communists among nationalist voters, which may spell trouble for Vladimir Zhirinovsky's chances in the elections, some observers said.

"These endorsements show the organizational strength of the Communists, and their ability to attract parties historically opposed to them may hurt other nationalist candidates in the upcoming months," said Viktor Borisyuk, a member of President Boris Yeltsin's Center for Political Analysis.

Borisyuk admitted that the Communists appear to have outfoxed their reformist opponents, including Yeltsin, in the early stages of the campaign.

"Certainly, it appears as though President Yeltsin and Grigory Yavlinsky are late in catching up, and that the Communists have beaten them to the punch in the endorsement business," Borisyuk said.