View Full Version : Putin rival reported missing

02-08-2004, 06:43 PM
Sunday, February 8, 2004 (http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/02/08/russia.election.ap/index.html)

Ivan Rybkin, a harsh critic of Putin, hasn't been heard from since Thursday night.

MOSCOW, Russia (AP) -- The family and staff of a Russian presidential candidate filed a missing persons report Sunday, saying he hasn't been heard from for three days, while election officials registered the final two presidential hopefuls.

The registrations bring to seven the number of contenders in a race that is widely considered a one-man show due to President Vladimir Putin's overwhelming popularity.

Irina Khakamada, the leading liberal candidate, and nationalist Sergei Glazyev had their candidacies approved after election officials reviewed a sampling of the two million signatures they were required to submit as independent candidates.

Meanwhile, a third presidential candidate -- the only other liberal on the ballot -- was officially reported missing. Ivan Rybkin -- a harsh critic of Putin -- hasn't been heard from since Thursday night and has not contacted his wife, close relatives or his campaign staff, campaign member Alexander Tukayev told The Associated Press.

His staff and wife submitted the request for a search to the Interior Ministry on Sunday morning, Tukayev said. Under Russian law, a missing persons report can be filed after three days without contact.

"Police accepted it and presumably now they'll begin the search," Tukayev said. "As he is a registered presidential candidate, we hope this will take priority."

Rybkin, who is running as an independent, had his candidacy approved by election officials on Saturday. A national security council chief under President Boris Yeltsin, Rybkin has been supported by Boris Berezovsky, a billionaire who was a powerful Kremlin insider in the Yeltsin years but who fell out with Putin and was granted asylum in the United Kingdom.

Like Khakamada earlier, he has publicly and aggressively criticized Putin. Rybkin last week unofficially launched his campaign with a full-page open letter in the newspaper Kommersant accusing Putin of being Russia's most powerful oligarch and of ruling by fear.

Khakamada had sharply criticized Putin for presiding over a society built on lies and fear. She also accused authorities of covering up the truth about terrorist acts and denounced Putin's handling of the seizure of a Moscow theater by Chechen rebels in 2002.

But neither candidate is expected to make much of a showing in the March 14 election. Putin has remained Russia's most popular politician since his 2000 election. Recent opinion surveys have shown about 80 percent of respondents saying they would vote for Putin.

Putin appears so confident of being re-elected that he has said that he will not participate in television debates or use free airtime. That goes along with the image he cultivated in his first election as a strong leader who doesn't need conventional advertising.

But regardless, Russia's state-controlled television attentively and glowingly covers Putin's every move.

Glazyev, who is a favorite to come in a very distant second to Putin, has accused Kremlin officials of using state-controlled television channels in a smear campaign against him.

The other candidates include Sergei Mironov, speaker of the upper house of parliament, who says he is running not to challenge Putin but to support him, and two marginal, little-known figures from the Communist and ultranationalist Liberal Democratic parties.

Meanwhile, election officials forwarded information to prosecutors to investigate the alleged forgery of some of the signatures collected by Khakamada, Glazyev and Rybkin.


02-08-2004, 07:09 PM

Please send this to FORD's and my forum...


02-08-2004, 07:14 PM
I was just gonna say.......

02-13-2004, 11:46 PM
Originally posted by ELVIS

Please send this to FORD's and my forum...


okay...sorry it took me so long....

02-14-2004, 12:52 AM
Gee tanks...:D