The maneuvers that will really decide Chechnya’s special presidential election in August have all been taking place behind the scenes. The only voters who really matter—Vladimir Putin’s inner circle in the Kremlin—are remaining quiet. But speculation and rumors continue. Andrei Riskin noted in May 26 Nezavisimaya Gazeta that there are “several indications that the Kadyrov team is placing its stakes on Interior Minister Alu Alkhanov.”
According to the Itar-Tass news agency, election officials of the pro-Moscow administration had as of May 27 registered a formal filing of candidacy from only one candidate, a woman official named Mariyat Gorchkhanova from the local administration in the Urus-Martan district. But former Grozny mayor Beslan Gantemirov continues to say publicly that he will run.
Two potentially serious candidates have already taken themselves out of the running:
Aslanbek Aslakhanov, adviser to President Putin on Chechnya, and Taus Dzhabrailov, head of the pro-Moscow administration’s toothless State Council. So has the obscure, unemployed Khalid Tagirov.
The Election Commission has set July 14 as the deadline for candidates to file all the necessary documents to take part in the race; election officials are to announce on July 25 which of those candidates have met the legal requirements for running, such as collecting a minimum number of signatures or paying an advance fee.