Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 81

Late last week, Russia’s Central Election Commission registered the candidacies of Grigory Yavlinsky, retired Lt. General Aleksandr Lebed, and Svyatoslav Fedorov. This week, the CEC registered one businessman, prepared to register another, but refused registration to a third. The rejected candidate is Sergei Mavrodi, creator of Russia’s first pyramid investment fund, MMM, which collapsed in 1994, taking the savings of thousands of people with it. The CEC alleged that at least half of the signatures submitted in support of his candidacy were forgeries. But the CEC was forced, on orders from the Supreme Court, to register another businessman, Martin Shakkum, even though officials said many of the signatures collected by his supporters were also of questionable authenticity. Neither of the two businessmen has much chance of election; Shakkum himself says he will be pleased if he collects as much as 5 percent of the vote. (RTR, Reuters, April 22)

Also this week, the Procurator General’s Office upheld a Supreme Court ruling ordering the CEC to register businessman Vladimir Bryntsalov, millionaire owner of a pharmaceutical chain. Meanwhile, a group of disenchanted voters has called for the creation of a movement to be called "Nyet" (No), which would encourage the electorate to vote against all the candidates. Opinion polls suggest that as many as 18 percent of the electorate will choose that option if faced with a choice between Yeltsin and Zyuganov in the second round. ("Ekho Moskvy," April 22) The law requires new elections to be called if a majority of voters reject all the candidates.

Moscow Notes Defeat of Cuba Censure Effort.