Garry Kasparov will not run for Russian presidency

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Garry Kasparov (second from right) and other 'The Other Russia' leaders at a rally on June 9, 2007.
Image: GoWest.

Garry Kasparov, the world champion chess-player turned political activist, says he will not contest the 2008 presidential election in March. Kasparov says that he is forced to withdraw from the race because his political group, The Other Russia has been unable to hold a nominating convention.

"In all Moscow we have not been able to find a hall where our supporters could meet," Kasparov said. "We pay and the people agree. There are no problems. And then they call us to say they are refusing, can't give us the hall any more," he continued. "They refuse to give us the hall for technical reasons."

Kasparov's campaign had previously run into a variety of other problems including police crackdowns and censorship. In one incident, Andrei Novikov, a reporter critical of the government and supportive of Kasparov, was detained for nine months in a psychiatric hospital.

Reporters Without Borders said of the Novikov incident: "It seems that Russia' special service sand psychiatrists are still empowered to take charge of anyone whose words or actions stray from the Kremlin line."

Analysts believe that Dmitri Medvedev will win the March elections after he was endorsed by Vladimir Putin, who wields tremendous popular support.