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Experts say Yeltsin may return to politics

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MOSCOW, July 27 (RIA Novosti) - Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin could be on his way back into politics, some experts say, especially considering the situation surrounding Yeltsin "Family" (inner circle) member, Mikhail Kasyanov, the former prime minister dismissed by President Putin in 2004, the daily newspaper Novye Izvestia reported.

Dmitry Oreshkin, head of the Mercator think tank: "Yeltsin has been playing a higher-profile role in the past several months. The weakening of the current authorities and the West's mass disappointment at their policies ensure the rebirth of symbols of the not-so-distant past. The symbolic nature of the Yeltsin era against the backdrop of establishing an administrative-command system may become especially important. The West still trusts Yeltsin and he, at a critical moment, can say bluntly what he thinks of the situation in the country. Given that the former president can, in theory, run for the presidency in 2008, he is still able to rival other presidential contenders."

Sergei Markov, director of the Institute for Political Studies: "Given the lack of political forces in the country, except "the party of Putin" and "the party of Yeltsin", the former president might be prompted to run in the 2007-2008 election. Oligarchs, who made a pile during Yeltsin's tenure, dream of revanche. They are in the same boat with Yeltsin's top officials, for example Kasyanov. So, if a realistic political project is ripe, they will need Yeltsin."

Alexei Makarkin, deputy director of the Center of Political Technologies: "A new generation of politicians has come to power in Russia, and they will not relinquish power without putting up a fight. To boot, President Putin's popularity rating is still high enough due to him coming to power as an antipode [to Yeltsin], and the people, fed up with permissiveness, decided that he belonged. Therefore, I would not speak of Yeltsin as a realistic political alternative or a man retaining his political clout. And the "Family' as a lobbyist group is no more. The Family ceased serving interests of the public and now serves their own interests only.

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