Gorbachev joins race for presidency
Saturday 02 March 1996
Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, said yesterday he would stand as a candidate in Russia's presidential election in June.
Mr Gorbachev, who is 65 today, made the announcement at a news conference in Moscow at which he portrayed himself as a centrist alternative to President Boris Yeltsin and to the leading challenger, Gennady Zyuganov of the Communist Party.
Recent opinion polls suggest Mr Gorbachev has almost no hope of winning the presidency. Whereas Mr Zyuganov consistently scores 20 per cent or more in the polls, and Mr Yeltsin scores about 10 per cent, Mr Gorbachev's popularity rating is barely 1 per cent.
"His time is past," said Sergei Shakhrai, a former minister in Mr Yeltsin's government. "Intellectuals and the West recognise his merits, but that's not enough to win the election."
Mr Gorbachev said he hoped to unite "all democratic forces" behind his candidacy, but it is difficult to see where his support might come from.
Most ordinary voters, in so far as they think of him at all, appear to hold him responsible for the political chaos and economic slump that turned their lives upside down in the late Soviet period.
Nor does he command much sympathy in Russian political circles. Reformists blame him for refusing, when he was president, to make a decisive break with Communism and the principle of a united Soviet state, while Communists and nationalists despise him as a traitor.
By throwing his hat into the ring, Mr Gorbachev seems to be calculating that he may at least succeed in disrupting the election campaign of Mr Yeltsin, his bitter rival. The two men have been at odds since 1987, when Mr Gorbachev forced Mr Yeltsin's dismissal from the inner Soviet leadership.
Mr Yeltsin secured his revenge by becoming the champion of the democratic opposition, winning the Russian presidency in June 1991 and organising the dissolution of the Soviet Union after the failed August hardline coup. Mr Gorbachev, who is not a member of a political party, needs 1 million signatures of support by 16 April to be registered as a candidate in the 16 June election.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...
£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...
£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...