Next Spring’s Kremlin Stakes, the campaign for the Russian Presidency, has all the appearance of a democratic race, but there’s little doubt about the outcome.
The electoral commission trimmed the field to just six candidates, for instance banning former-Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky because of his British nationality. He spent thirteen years in and out of Soviet labour camps, before moving to the UK.
The former chess champion Garry Kasparov ruled himself out earlier, the darling of the western media complaining that Kremlin interference rendered his campain pointless.
The right-wing nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky WILL enter the race. He claims to speak for the Russian people, and in 1991 famously promised that if he were elected, free vodka would be distributed to all.
But few doubt the winner will be Dmitri Medvedev. Fiercely loyal to President Putin, and annointed as his preferred successor, Medvedev is the overwhelming favourite.