''I’m convinced the withdrawal of Grudinin is just an intrigue inside the political bloc''
Political experts don’t believe the messages about $1 million in Switzerland won’t do harm to the Communist candidate and warn he can withdraw his candidacy
On 6 February, the Central Election Commission (CEC) was to decide whether it would turn to go to exclude CPRF candidate Pavel Grudinin from the election race. We need to remind that the information about allegedly not closed foreign accounts of the politician caused it. Very Grudinin called it a stunt. Even if so, political experts think it won't impede the electorate from voting for him. But the experts suppose the Kremlin is unlikely to run a risk of withdrawing the candidate from the election. Realnoe Vremya tells why.
''What a reply did Grudinin give?''
Pavel Grudinin already called the message about his 11 foreign accounts in which he holds about a million of dollars a lie. The CEC claims that one of the assets is in gold: ''False information about my accounts and almost the gold of the party that I keep in a Swiss bank was spread in the federal media again! Doesn't it seem to you it's at least strange to open 11 or 13 accounts in one bank?'' he was indignant on his Facebook page.
The politician criticised the CEC for distribution of unchecked information – like you could find out everything in its headquarters or in the Federal Tax Service: ''It has exhaustive information about the closure of all foreign accounts and the bank's explanations about domestic accounts.'' Grudinin added he didn't intend to refuse the participation in the election: ''Whoever would like this and whatever they would say there – dream on!''
The experts assess the candidate's reaction to the CEC's claim unclearly: ''Look, information with a link to certain documents and sources has been published. In answer, we hear it all is a lie. Where is a refutation, counter-documents or proof the accounts were closed? What a reply did Grudinin give? In addition, I feel the very CPRF didn't know about Grudinin's accounts. He hid it from everybody, including those who declared his candidacy,'' political expert Igor Ryabov noted in a talk with Realnoe Vremya.
''I think we've dealing with an organised campaign. And it is happening because Grudinin can ''bite off'' part of Putin's electorate.''
''Stalinists are voting for Putin. What's the problem here? Putinists love Stalinists, Stalinists love Putin. And here Grudinin who is standing close appeared. All other problems are linked with this circumstance only. Another thing is that there was preliminary agreement with Grudinin that the campaign would be quiet, peaceful, calm, it wouldn't create problems. Probably this is why he relaxed and didn't prepare carefully,'' political expert Konstantin Kalachev thinks.
''How are you going to rule a country if you can't rule in your own house?''
The political experts expressed Realnoe Vremya's their opinion about how the CEC's claim would affect Grudinin's fate and his electorate. For instance, Andrey Kolyadin called the situation with the accounts a bad sign for the candidate:
''What a president are you if you cheat? If you simply don't know about it, how are you going to rule a country if you can't rule in your own house? From a perspective of Grudinin himself, it's bad. But I think it won't have an impact on the electorate.
''People who made a decision to vote for him have already heard of his accounts and realty abroad. What worked once will work less later. This is why the electorate will vote for him without depending on the fact that Grudinin isn't acting well, of course, and a presidential candidate can't behave so,'' Kolyadin is convinced.
''The situation with Grudinin is developing very unpredictably. The thing is that the declaration of Grudinin as a candidate seems to have been agreed in a very strange way. It was Zyuganov's impulsion who agreed with the Administration of the President somehow but, obviously, not with everybody. And now opponents of this idea are trying to show that Grudinin is dangerous for Putin, he's taking away his rating and should be withdrawn. This is why the information about accounts appeared. Of course, Grudinin didn't prepare for the presidential elections, as he didn't plan to participate in them and then hoped to ''agree'' with authorities,'' added political expert Ilya Graschenkov.
''It seems to me they went too far in the situation with Grudinin. There are people who think that if authorities fight against somebody, it means he's a decent person, one needs to vote for him. In other words, here a completely different reaction can be received. Our people often sympathise with those who are pressed by authorities, and the candidate whose power, which is defined as a problem by power itself, can skip it,'' Konstantin Kalachev says.
''The withdrawal in the eyes of a big number of voters will mean the Kremlin was frightened''
But Andrey Kolyadin doesn't exclude the information about Grudinin's accounts was really false news: ''theoretically, it can easily happen''. Usually so-called ''black technologies'' are used at the last stage of an election race: ''when it's said a candidate eats kids, he is a transformed man, woman and other rubbish''. But for a refutation, Grudinin needs to make a decision fast, for instance, to sue.
While The CEC is thinking whether to go to court to exclude the candidate, political experts' opinions about the outcome and whether it will be real are different.
''I'm sure Grudinin won't be withdrawn. He held an unsuccessful campaign and isn't the threat to the Kremlin he was at the beginning. If he weren't withdrawn at that moment, they won't do it now. The withdrawal in the eyes of a big number of voters will mean the Kremlin was frightened. The Kremlin is unlikely to want to send such a signal. The information about the accounts is given only not to allow Grudinin increase his ratings,'' political expert Abbas Gallyamov claimed.
''I'm convinced the withdrawal of Grudinin is just an intrigue inside the political bloc,'' Ilya Graschenkov partially agrees.
''His withdrawal will lead to the situation similar to elections of the governor of Buryatia this year. When the CPRF candidate was withdrawn, and the party of Suraykin Communists of Russia provided the presence of the communists in the electorate field. Of course, the withdrawal of Grudinin will very negatively affect the campaign. The last intrigue will be lost, it will be clear the power feels unconfident, those who were going to vote will ignore it in the end. Analogous situations happened abroad too. And it always ends when the rating of those who withdrew their opponents suddenly fell. Of course, the technical candidate, same Suraykin, will withdraw. But everybody will understand who is really behind the candidate's withdrawal and why it's done.''
Sooner or later Grudinin's electorate growth will end, adds Igor Ryabov. The expert believes the situation with foreign accounts can restrain the growth of his popularity ''because a person who runs for presidency hides something''.
In Ryabov's opinion, Grudinin needs to follow the law: if he has accounts, he needs to recognise. If not, he needs to provide disproving documents. In addition, he doubts the CPRF candidate will be really not allowed to election:
''They can, of course. But it's politically dangerous to withdraw Grudinin who has reached the second place. Here there is a general idea apart from law, a political decision needs to be made. On the other hand, the CEC, as a politically non-motivated organisation, needs to act within the legal framework. It needs to turn to the Supreme Court with questions and explanations of the situation. The Supreme Court needs to make this decision. If such a situation happened, it's very strange the CEC isn't taking any measures.''
We need to remind the Central Election Commission claimed to make a decision until Wednesday – whether to go to court to exclude Grudinin. Realnoe Vremya sent a request to the Russian CEC – the press service said it was received. There wasn't a reply before publication.