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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Glazyev Retires From Political Life

MTSergei Glazyev
Former presidential opposition candidate Sergei Glazyev announced Friday that he was bowing out of politics because, he said, President Vladimir Putin wielded more power than the tsars and left no room for debate.

Glazyev, who placed third in the last presidential election, said in a newspaper interview that he believed further participation in politics was pointless and that he would return to academic research instead.

"Even under the tsar there was not this concentration of power, because at the end of the day he had to take into account the church. Today we don't even have that," he said.

"Policy in this country is determined by one man. Authorities take no account of either the parliament or the parties," Glazyev said in an interview published in Kommersant.

The Kremlin denies it is backtracking on democracy and says elections are free and fair. It does, however, want to end the splintered party system that plagued Russia in the 1990s.

Glazyev was not available for comment Friday, but his spokesman confirmed that he would from now on be concentrating on economics research.

Glazyev is the latest in a lengthening list of opposition figures to drop out of politics ahead of the State Duma election in December and the presidential contest next March.

He said he could make more difference to society through academic work than through the Duma, which, he said, had become little more than a polite debating society after changes to the Constitution that restrict the powers of lawmakers.

The Duma "has been transformed into a sort of political club, where respected people imitate legislative activity," he said.

Glazyev alleged that not only pro-Kremlin parties, but also opposition parties must receive authorization before making key decisions.

"The consistent policy of the authorities is to establish total control over parliamentary elections. This has led to a point where the heads of all parties, hoping to get into the Duma, are forced to agree their [party] lists, and even their manifestos, with the Kremlin administration," he said.

Unlike former colleagues in the now-defunct Rodina party, Glazyev has not signed up for the new pro-Kremlin party A Just Russia, which bills itself as center-left.

Frustrated by politics, other well-known figures from the first years of post-Soviet democracy are turning their back on parliamentary politics, including Irina Khakamada, who once ran for president, but now concentrates on writing books.