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Putin's man surges; Kasparov quits

December 14, 2007|From Times Wire Reports

The popularity of President Vladimir V. Putin's favored successor soared in an opinion poll released on the day that Kremlin critic Garry Kasparov pulled out of the contest.

Putin this week anointed First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as his choice in the March 2 election.

Medvedev was already pulling away from other possible contenders, independent pollster Levada said of a survey mainly carried out before Putin's endorsement. It showed 35% of those surveyed would vote for him, putting him 14 percentage points ahead of his nearest rival.

Former world chess champion Kasparov repeated complaints that officials had taken steps to obstruct his candidacy. Pollsters said he had no chance to win.

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