It was well-anticipated and much talked about, but at this point, it’s official. Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov has officially thrown his hat into the political arena as the opposition coalition’s official standard bearer for the upcoming presidential elections. Kasparov received an overwhelming majority of 379 out of 498 votes in the recent convention held by the Other Russia coalition.
This by no means assures Kasparov’s spot in the March polls. His candidancy still needs to be registered and is still vulnerable to the blocking of other parties. Even if his candidacy gets through, the former world champion is still not expected to pose a threat to the person that current President Vladimir Putin will support. Putin is barred by the law to seek re-election for a third term in Kremlin, but he has verbalized his intentions to run for parliament.
The coalition is widely believed to have no chance of participating in the election for the State Duma – the lower house of parliament. Only registered political parties can take part and none of the political movements that make up the Other Russia qualify.
Putin’s approval rating have been nothing short of phenomenally high in his tenure. Despite the sticky situation with the death of an agent in Britain, the poisoning of Victor Yuschenko and other disputes with the other former socialist republics, Putin’s popularity has always hovered above 70%.