Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Zhirinovsky, Maybe Putin, on Party Lists

The main political parties are hashing out their federal and regional party lists, two weeks before they are allowed to begin submitting them to the Central Elections Commission ahead of State Duma elections.

Only the Liberal Democratic Party has announced the makeup of its federal list, which will be headed by the party's outspoken leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

Speculation swirled Thursday that President Vladimir Putin himself might head the United Russia list.

"The makeup of United Russia's list will shape the power structure in the country for the next few years," said Andrei Ryabov, a political analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center. "Putin's appointment at the head of the list would create two centers of power: The Kremlin and the State Duma."

Many see the Duma as a redundant body that simply rubber-stamps bills passing through.

The deadline for parties to submit their lists is Oct. 17.

News reports have placed the usual suspects at the head of the other main parties' federal lists, though the identities of the second- and third-placed figures in some cases remain a mystery.

The pro-Kremlin United Russia party refused to comment on a Kommersant report Thursday that placed its leader, Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov, at the head of the list.

"We cannot make any definite announcements right now," a spokesman said. He added that the final list would be announced after voting at a party conference Oct. 1 and 2.

Second on the party's list is Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu, while the third place is being reserved for a new face, Kommersant reported.

Svetlana Zhurova, the Olympic speed skating champion and a United Russia deputy in the Leningrad regional legislature, has been associated with the federal list too.

Spokespeople for other parties derided United Russia's use of celebrities, saying their only involvement in the party was to promote it.

Zhirinovsky announced at a news conference Wednesday that he would head the LDPR's federal list, that his son, Igor Lebedev, would be second, and that the third spot would be reserved for "a person who is not known to anybody."

The Union of Right Forces may choose former Open Russia head Irina Yasina to take the third place in its federal party list, Vedomosti reported, citing two sources in the party leadership.

Yasina, a relative unknown in electoral politics, would join party leader Nikita Belykh in first place and party co-founder Boris Nemtsov in second place. Open Russia is the charitable foundation of jailed billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

A spokeswoman for the party declined to confirm the report, saying a final decision would only be made at a conference Sept. 21.

"[Yasina] has a lot of authority in the democratic movement of Russia," said Duma Deputy Anton Bakov, a member of the party's Federal Council.

Youth activist Masha Gaidar and independent Duma Deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov are also considered candidates for the third spot.

Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky told Ekho Moskvy radio on Thursday that he would head his party's list. He refused to give other names on the list.

Yabloko spokeswoman Yevgenia Dillendorf said the list would be decided in two weeks, after a mid-September conference, and only "professional politicians" would be nominated.

The Communists earlier this year named a pool of nine candidates to head their federal list, which will be announced after a Sept. 22 conference. At a news conference Thursday, party leader Gennady Zyuganov fielded questions on whether he would head the list.

"Almost all party branches have named Zyuganov as the head of the federal party list, and Zhores Alfyorov following him," Zyuganov said, referring to the Nobel Prize-winning physicist and Duma deputy.

A Just Russia, the pro-Kremlin party created by Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov as a center-left alternative to United Russia, will decide its federal party list at a conference Sept. 23. Mironov is widely expected to head the list.

It is unclear who will join him in the second and third spots, though he told reporters last month that he wanted one of them to be a woman.