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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Zyuganov's Name First On Ballot




Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov on Tuesday became the first registered candidate for the presidential election and said he could overtake heavily favored acting President Vladimir Putin.


Putin, his campaign already moving into high gear, promised more money for scientists and measures to create "Western-style political parties."


Election officials said he was likely to be formally registered over the weekend, ahead of the Sunday deadline.


Many Russians appear resigned to a lopsided result in the March 26 poll. Putin holds a big lead in opinion polls.


Russian television stations showed Zyuganov, soundly beaten by Boris Yeltsin in the 1996 election, being applauded by members of the Central Elections Commission. "Our chances are good in this election," Itar-Tass quoted Zyuganov as saying.


But he complained the contest was loaded in Putin's favor.


"Things are unbalanced; that's obvious to everyone," Zyuganov said. "One candidate makes statements all day long and the others can't even get their declarations published."


Putin is clearly taking advantage of friendly coverage from the only two television networks broadcasting throughout the country.


On Tuesday, he told academics in Zelenograd, a technology center outside Moscow, that Russia's future depended on devoting attention to science. He later told students that stability would emerge only when political parties were formed under Western principles. He did not elaborate but said: "I think whoever is elected president will deal with this issue in full."


The Central Elections Commission approved Zyuganov's property and income declarations, said Artyom Golev, a commission spokesman. It also approved the necessary 500,000 signatures of support Zyuganov had submitted.


According to the documents, Zyuganov has two apartments and earned 495,000 rubles ($17,000) in 1998-99. He also reported having two bank accounts, one with 16,530 rubles, the equivalent of $570, and the other with 2,058 rubles, about $80, Golev said.