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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fyodorov: 'Third Force' to Pick Leader

Eye surgeon Svyatoslav Fyodorov said Tuesday it is "quite realistic" that he, Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky and former general Alexander Lebed will agree on a single candidate for June's presidential contest and that he was prepared, if necessary, to stand down.

Fyodorov told reporters the three groups, comprising the so-called Third Force, will select a single candidate a month before the June 16 vote and sign a "charter" on the main economic reforms which need to be carried out over the next two years.

He said that the coalition's candidate will be chosen by comparing each candidate's "objective" popularity rating, adding that he will willingly end his quest for the presidency if not picked.

"I with the utmost pleasure will withdraw my candidacy," he said. "Because my wife says, 'What the hell do you need it for?'"

Fyodorov said the two losers would either "fade into the background or take a lesser post in the executive branch."

It was unclear, however, on what ratings the three candidates would base their collective decision. Fyodorov said he felt the current opinion polls were "a very far from reality," but that the 11 regional affiliates of his Worker's Self-Government Party are carrying out their own opinion polls.

The famous eye specialist, who is also a State Duma deputy, criticized what he described as Russia's over-bureaucratized state, calling for an alternative to both Western-style capitalism and bureaucratic socialism.

Quoting at times from Lermontov and Pushkin, Fyodorov spoke at length about the need to "unite the person with the results of his labor."

"A person who receives a salary does not differ psychologically from a slave," Fyodorov said. "Only for some reason he's called a free person, because he's not sold. He sells himself, just as a prostitute sells her labor to satisfy someone's sexual demands."

Fyodorov called for, among other things, "drastic" changes in tax policy, the duty-free import "of any new technology," control over the export of raw materials and common ownership of infrastructure.

Yabloko officials have made it clear that they expect Yavlinsky to be the Third Force candidate. Asked how he will be able to make common cause with a free-market economist like Yavlinsky, Fyodorov said: "I think Yavlinsky, who is a scientific worker, must in the end see that facts are more important than theories written by [Milton] Friedman, [Friedreich Von] Hayek or Adam Smith."

Meanwhile, Martin Shakkum, the first vice president of the International Foundation for Economic and Social Reforms, who was registered as a candidate Monday in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling, said Tuesday that he will consider offers to join forces with other unspecified candidates, Interfax reported.