Preparations for the presidential election in Ingushetia, scheduled for April 7, are in high gear. The republic’s election commission has registered twenty-two candidates. Another twelve were either rejected by the commission or voluntarily dropped out. Several potential candidates were found not to have had enough genuine signatures on the lists of signatures that each of the candidates are legally required to present in support of their candidacies. Among these was Bagauddin Aushev, secretary of the republic’s Security Council and the younger brother of its former president, Ruslan Aushev, who stepped down from Ingushetia’s top post at the end of last year. Local observers had viewed Bagauddin Aushev as one of the candidates most likely to win. In an interview with Radio Liberty, the younger Aushev said he would appeal his disqualification by the republican election commission’s decision with the republic’s Supreme Court.
According to local observers, the main battle will now be between four candidates. The first is Khamzat Gutseriev, who is also supported by Ruslan Aushev, and who many observers believe will receive financial support from his older brother–Mikhail Gutseriev, head of Slavneft, the giant Russian-Belarusian oil and gas company. Another favorite is Akhmed Malsagov, Ingushetia’s acting president. The third leading candidate is the businessman Ruslan Maskurov, who is highly popular within Ingushetia’s business community and who was Ruslan Aushev’s main challenger in the last republican presidential race. The fourth is Murat Zyazikov, deputy presidential representative in the Southern federal district and an FSB general-major. According to some observers, Zyazikov is the Kremlin’s choice (Radio Liberty, February 16).
ANTI-COMMUNIST DEMONSTRATIONS IN MOLDOVA HAMPERED BY NARROW FOCUS.