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Rogozin for President

I have good news and bad news, but since I don't know which is which, I will convey them in their logical order. First, the name of Russia's next president is now known. Second, his name is Dmitriy Rogozin, the Motherland Party's most famous politician.

Naturally, everything can change in the future, including Russia's constitutional norms. But for now, Dmitriy Rogozin is the only Russian politician who has both genuine prospects of winning and the corresponding, albeit not publicly stated, ambition to do so.

There were many more candidates in 1997, three years before the 2000 presidential election, a veritable parade of names representing different sections of the nomenklatura and political spectrum: Chernomyrdin, Yavlinskiy, Lebed, Luzhkov, Nemtsov, Zhirinovskiy. Not all of them had realistic chances, but every one of them had the backing of a specific political force.

And now? None of these former candidates remains a serious political contender, although some are still quite young. Nor is a presidential candidate likely to be found among the regional governors, or among the leaders of the "old" or "new" parties. Except Dmitriy Rogozin. Why?