Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 193

Sergei Mikhailov, a controversial candidate dropped from the Zhirinovsky Bloc list, was nonetheless registered with the Central Election Commission (CEC) yesterday. One of two candidates to single-mandate districts put forward by something calling itself the Conservative Movement of Russia, Mikhailov is known in some circles by the alias “Mikhas.” This movement is headed by Lev Ubozhk, its second candidate for a single-mandate seat; Vladimir Burenin, rector of the Higher Commercial School of the Russian Ministry of Trade; and Andrei Tishkov, president of the Moscow Oblast’s Small Business Association (Kommersant, October 19). Mikhailov is, allegedly, also the leader of the Solntsevo organized crime group, named for the district in Moscow Oblast, just outside the Russian capital, where it is based.

Another group which registered yesterday is a movement called Spas, led by Aleksandr Barkashov. While Barkashov described himself in his CEC registration as the head of a “noncommercial partnership” called the Center for Slavic Martial Arts, the former KGB martial arts instructor is better known as the head of the ultrarightist, black-shirted paramilitary movement called Russian National Unity (RNE). RNE came into conflict with Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov late last year, after Luzhkov banned a congress it planned in Moscow. In February, the Moscow Prosecutor’s Office launched criminal proceedings against Barkashov for threatening Luzhkov (see the Monitor, February 25). In April, a Moscow court banned RNE’s Moscow chapter for, among other things, organizing unauthorized rallies. Russia’s Justice Ministry refused to register RNE for parliamentary elections (Moscow Times, April 21). After Spas was registered yesterday, CEC head Aleksandr Veshnyakov said that the Justice Ministry, not his commission, had the responsibility to assess whether a given bloc or movement’s ideology gave grounds for refusing to register it for elections. The Justice Ministry, apparently, had no problems with Barkashov’s new bloc (Vremya-MN, October 19).

While October 24 is the deadline for registering for the December elections, the CEC’s press service said yesterday that blocs other than the thirty-two already registered have submitted registration applications. The applications submitted by Our Home is Russia, the movement headed by Viktor Chernomyrdin, the former prime minister who currently heads the board of Gazprom, and by the Union of Right-wing Forces, the coalition put together by Anatoly Chubais, Boris Nemtsov and other “young reformers,” will be vetted on October 22 and October 23, respectively (Russian agencies, October 18).