Russia had never said it had already refused to accept the poll results. But it had strong doubts about whether the election, scheduled for May 25, could be considered open, legitimate and democratic, Pushkov said.
“The actions that Kiev radicals take regarding all the other undesired candidates strengthen these doubts,” he added.
Key to events was the attitude of Ukrainians who were against the current government. “If those who stand against Kiev's authorities ignore the forthcoming election it will be very difficult for Russia to accept the poll results as correct and democratic,” Pushkov said.
Nine registered candidates were nominated by political parties. Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was nominated by the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party, former Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko — by the Civil Position party, former Minister of Revenues and Duties Oleksandr Klymenko — by the Ukrainian People’s Party, former Minister of Social Policy Natalia Korolevska — by the Ukraine-Forward party, Vasyl Kuybida — by the People’s Movement of Ukraine (Rukh), Oleh Lyashko — by the Radical Party, Petro Symonenko — by the Ukrainian Communist Party, Oleg Tyagnibok — by the Svoboda (Freedom) party, and Dmytro Yarosh — by the radical Right Sector organization.
Other candidates, including tycoon Petro Poroshenko, are self-nominees. Poroshenko, however, can count on the support from Vitali Klitschko’s UDAR party, while Mykhailo Dobkin is backed by the Party of Regions.