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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bukovsky To Run for President

Vladimir Bukovsky, the prominent Soviet-era dissident, will run for president in 2008, a group of his supporters said Monday.

Bukovsky, who was deported from the Soviet Union in 1976 and now lives in Britain, said in a statement that he wanted to run because he would like to reverse unfair court verdicts and "a man is suffocating in prison" -- an apparent reference to Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

"I cannot promise happiness to our people. Maybe polonium-210 awaits me. But this won't stop me," Bukovsky said in a statement released by his supporters.

The supporters include Yury Ryzhov, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences; opposition journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr.; political scientists Andrei Piontkovsky and Vladimir Pribylovsky; and Roman Dobrokhotov, leader of the opposition youth group My. They called on all opposition groups to back Bukovsky's candidacy.

Bukovsky was a friend of former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko, who British prosecutors believe was poisoned with polonium-210 planted by former security services agent Andrei Lugovoi last year. Lugovoi denies the charge.

Several opposition leaders have already expressed interest in running for president next year, including former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and former Central Bank chairman Viktor Gerashchenko.

Bukovsky, 64, spent nearly 12 years in Soviet prisons, labor camps and psychiatric hospitals for nonviolent human rights activities in the 1960s and 1970s. Soviet authorities agreed to let him leave the country in exchange for the release of Chilean communist leader Luis Alberto Corvalan Castillo by Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1976. He is the author of several books, including "To Build a Castle" and "Judgment in Moscow."