Russian Liberal Stands Down

Opposition candidate accuses Kremlin of turning presidential contest into 'farce'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2007 8:30 AM CST
Boris Nemtsov speaks at a Congress of the Union of Right Forces in Moscow on Friday, Sept. 21, 2007. Nemtsov was to be a candidate in the March presidential elections, but has now dropped out complaining...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Another candidate has dropped out of the race for the Russian presidency, complaining of dirty tricks, the Washington Post reports. Boris Nemtsov, leader of a mainstream liberal party, said the uneven playing field was turning the contest into a farce. He accused the Kremlin of using "Goebbels-like propaganda, force and bureaucratic pressures" against rivals.

The Putin-backed candidate, Dmitry Medvedev, is the overwhelming favorite to win the March election. Popular chess champ Garry Kasparov dropped out of the running earlier this month. Nemtsov called for the opposition to unite behind one candidate, and to consider dropping out entirely if the Kremlin didn't meet demands for equal access to state media and an end to secret service interference.