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Moscow businessman and blogger eyeing presidential run

Samson Sholademi wants to use his nomination as a pulpit to attract the attention of the public and the federal authorities to the problems of the Moscow’s Ivanovskoye district

MOSCOW, November 3. /TASS/. Moscow entrepreneur and blogger Samson Sholademi plans to run for president of Russia as a self-nominated candidate and believes that the experience he gained in running in Moscow’s municipal elections will help him form a spearhead group for nomination.

On November 2, Sholademi wrote on his Facebook page that he plans to toss his hat into the presidential race. He noted that he wants to use his nomination as a pulpit to draw the attention of the public and the federal authorities to the problems of Moscow’s Ivanovskoye district, which include the state of Terletsky Park and air pollution. The blogger specified that he is ready to withdraw from the nomination in favor of a candidate who will manage to attract the most attention to these problems.

"I seriously intend to run. Not many things - both financial and organizational - are needed to start off. In order to be officially nominated one should gather an initiative group of 500 people, hold a meeting and be nominated for the presidency on its behalf," Sholademi wrote on Friday on his Telegram channel.

He reiterated that 615 people supported him at the September 10 municipal election in the Ivanovskoye district. The blogger believes that, given this, as well as the great number of his readers, friends and acquaintances, "it would not be technically difficult" to form a spearhead group.

To participate in the election, a self-nominated candidate has to register a voter group of at least 500 people in the Central Election Commission. After the nomination, the candidate will have to collect 300,000 signatures to be registered, with not more than 7,500 voter signatures gathered in one Russian region.

The Russian presidential election campaign will officially run from December 7 to 17, and the vote will be held on March 18. Russian President Vladimir Putin has not yet stated his decision to participate in the election or said he intended to be nominated. The following people have already announced their intention to run for the presidency: LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky, Communists of Russia leader Maxim Suraikin, political expert and head of the Social Technologies Center Andrei Bogdanov, TV host Ksenia Sobchak and singer and human rights activist Yekaterina Gordon.