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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Other Russia's Candidate is Kasparov

MTFrom left, Eduard Limonov, Garry Kasparov, Alexander Osovtsov and Sergei Udaltsov speaking on the stage before The Other Russia congress started Sunday.
The Other Russia on Sunday chose Garry Kasparov as its unity candidate for the March presidential vote while confirming a party list of 450 candidates for the Dec. 2 State Duma elections, in which the party is not eligible to run.

The coalition's first national congress also saw the departure of the Red Youth Vanguard from the movement, as leader Sergei Udaltsov said he was dissatisfied with the coalition's strategy and walked out, taking the group's support with him.

"I will seek victory and will not turn off this path," Kasparov told the congress after receiving the votes of 379 of the 494 delegates who took part.

Kasparov's words were in sharp contrast to his statements at the opening of the congress, when he told the delegates that The Other Russia was not looking to win in either the presidential or Duma elections.

While over 200 members of pro-Kremlin youth groups, including Young Guard and Young Russia, protested in front of the venue Sunday, opposition parties not taking part criticized The Other Russia's claim that Kasparov was running as a unity opposition candidate.

"It's not a surprise his own organization elected him," Yevgeny Bunimovich, a Yabloko Moscow City Duma deputy said Sunday. "But there are a lot of other opposition organizations that didn't take part in the vote."

Bunimovich said Yabloko and former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov's supporters were also likely to have a say in which opposition politicians run in the presidential election.

Other Russia leaders Kasparov and Eduard Limonov were joined by Gerashchenko in the top three spots for the coalition's federal list, reported Sunday. The Other Russia will file its list for the Duma elections with the Central Elections Commission on Monday, Limonov said.

Igor Tabakov / MT
Pro-Kremlin youth holding caricatures of Kasparov, Limonov and Berezovsky at The Other Russia congress Sunday.
There isn't much likelihood the party will get on the ballot. According to election law, only registered political parties can take part in the vote.

The Other Russia, which has never applied for party status, opposes changes to election laws by which the next Duma will be selected completely by proportional representation. Previously, half of the Duma deputies had been selected by direct votes in single seat districts.

"We will demand that the Central Elections Commission register The Other Russia's list and include it on the ballot," Limonov told the congress. "Whether the commission registers the lists or not, we will conduct a full-fledged election campaign."

Limonov said that without access to television, The Other Russia would campaign by putting up posters and conducting marches.

Viktor Anpilov, leader of the Working Russia party, called on delegates to spoil their ballots by crossing out the parties listed and writing The Other Russia over them. The suggestion was greeted with loud applause.

Sunday's gathering offered little of the upbeat mood present at the coalition's last congress, in Moscow in early July.

About 750 regional delegates were chosen to take part in Sunday's event, in the concert hall of the Izmailovo hotel complex in northeast Moscow, but only about 500 had registered by the start of the congress at 12:15 p.m.

The congress started 15 minutes behind schedule, as the organizers were waiting for latecomers, and Limonov and political council member Alexander Osovtsov were still staring at sections of empty seats when proceedings began. Udaltsov and Alexander Averin, a spokesman for the banned National Bolshevik Party, joined them later on the dais.

The Red Youth Vanguard's Udaltsov was partially responsible for the subdued atmosphere, as he told the gathering that his movement had decided to leave the coalition "for now," saying it objected to what he called the premature nomination of a unity opposition candidate.

"The Other Russia is not yet a broad opposition coalition," Udaltsov said. "Unfortunately, for now, The Other Russia is an alliance of several relatively small organizations."

"In these circumstances, the nomination of a single candidate does not seem very convincing," Udaltsov said.

He left the hall after his speech without saying goodbye to anyone.

The departure of the Red Youth Vanguard, which has been a regular participant in the Dissenters Marches led by The Other Russia, came just three months after Kasyanov and his Russian People's Democratic Union pulled out in July.