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Russian environmental activist to run for Khimki mayor

August 20, 2012, 13:47 UTC+3

Representatives of the opposition movement unanimously named her as the people’s candidate and promised to support her in every possible way

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MOSCOW, August 20 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s leading opposition campaigner known for opposing the building of a motorway through Khimki forest near Moscow, Yevgeniya Chirikova, on Sunday agreed to run for mayor of Khimki near Moscow. Representatives of the opposition movement unanimously named her as the people’s candidate and promised to support her in every possible way. Opposition leaders Sergei Udaltsov, Alexei Navalny and Dmitry Gudkov were among those who pledged their support.

On Sunday Yevgeniya Chirikova made public her intention to run for mayor at a meeting of civil activists in Khimki forest, the battle over which made her famous, the Novye Izvestiya reported. In her speech Chirikova announced that Russia’s revival will begin with her election to the post. Moreover, she promised to further fight to preserve the forest outside Moscow and cancel the construction of the Moscow-St. Petersburg highway. In case of her election as mayor the politician plans to turn Khimki into a research centre and “the city for intellectuals.”

At present, within the upcoming two weeks the activist has to collect from 1,500 to 2,000 signatures of support, the Moskovsky Komsomolets wrote.

Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov announced that it would be difficult to find a better single candidate from opposition than Yevgeniya and promised to hurl all efforts for campaigning. Alexei Navalny told reporters that Khimki might have that very “people’s candidate” and that he had no doubt in Yevgeniya’s victory, because “through the existing support she can win already now without any election campaign.” Parliamentarian from A Just Russia, Dmitry Gudkov, said he had already written a Twitter message to the party’s leader, Sergei Mironov, requesting the party’s support for Yevgeniya.

“But now our main task is not to take our forces into several fronts and to vote for the single opposition candidate,” Udaltsov said adding he would do his utmost to persuade the Communist Party and other parties to vote for Yevgeniya. Soon after Yabloko leader Sergei Mitrokhin made a statement saying that his party still had no intention to recall its candidate Igor Belousov. But the party did not rule out an opportunity to sit at the negotiating table and support a stronger nominee.

Igor Belousov told the Moskovsky Komsomolets that he could not recall his candidacy as it was not yet officially nominated. “I think we will sit at the negotiating table,” the leader of Yabloko’s Khimki office said. “The main thing - we want people to live well. We do not want war, we want peace and I think we will agree,” he added noting that he knew Yevgeniya Chirikova personally and welcomed her nomination.

“Chirikova is a well known and recognizable candidate irrespective of her pluses and minuses,” said Mikhail Vinogradov, who heads the St. Petersburg Policy Fund. “But now it is very difficult to forecast the election results, everything will depend on the quality of the election campaign and local residents’ mood in this period.” He added that acting Khimki mayor Oleg Shakhov, who was supported by Moscow region governor Sergei Shoigu has not yet fully revealed himself in this position.

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