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Litvinenko murder suspect to run for office in Russia

YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images Andrei Lugovoi, the ex-KGB man who has been charged by Britain for the murder of Alexander Litvinenko has accepted the nomination of Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) to stand for State Duma elections in December. With the second-most senior spot on the party’s ticket, Lugovoi (the man on the right) has a ...

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YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images

Andrei Lugovoi, the ex-KGB man who has been charged by Britain for the murder of Alexander Litvinenko has accepted the nomination of Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) to stand for State Duma elections in December. With the second-most senior spot on the party’s ticket, Lugovoi (the man on the right) has a very good shot at getting elected. Lugovoi has proclaimed his innocence in the Litvinenko affair and Russia has refused to extradite him to Britain to face charges, but from the words of one Duma insider, his appeal is pretty clear:

It is important that most simple Russians view him as someone who has liquidated a traitor,” Vladislav Ignatov, a former Duma deputy currently working in the Audit Chamber, said.”

If you’re not familiar with the LDPR, which is neither liberal nor democratic, it is the party of flamboyant xenophobe and half-Jewish anti-Semite Vladimir Zhirinovsky (the man on the left). It is also widely considered to be a Kremlin-organized front designed to distract attention from real opposition groups. Andrew Wilson’s book Virtual Politics has a great section on the LDPR’s origins.

Zhirinovsky summed up his feelings on Lugovoi with characteristic bluster:

There is our main enemy, the Anglo-Saxons,” he said, pointing to Britain on a map of the world. “The UK is trying to rule the world. Andrei is now the point-man in a historic confrontation between our country and Britain.”

Lugovoi’s fledgling political career may be just be getting started. Less than hour after accepting the LDPR’s nomination, he told a reporter,  “Like any other citizen of the Russian Federation, I would like to be president.”

As notoriously unpredictable as Russia’s politics may be, that might be pushing it a little.

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