17:29 GMT +324 February 2018
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    MOSCOW, MARCH 5, RIA NOVOSTI - "I'm quitting. Am I a rabbit to run before the President's motorcade?" presidential hopeful Ivan Rybkin angrily said to a news conference in Moscow tonight.

    His six rivals on the Russian presidential race-Sergei Glazyev, Oleg Malyshkin, Sergei Mironov, Irina Hakamada, Nikolai Kharitonov and, last but not least, incumbent Vladimir Putin-think he has good reason to give it up.

    "Rybkin sees he has no hope-he will never score more than half a per cent of votes. Russians dislike people moneybags are financing," Nikolai Kharitonov, Communist/Agrarian bloc candidate, said to Novosti with a transparent hint at Boris Berezovsky, controversial business tycoon, who is sponsoring Ivan Rybkin's campaign. "We Russians are an outspoken lot. Rybkin, on the contrary, has lost face with his fuss. He has no hope to get on with his political career." As for Mr. Kharitonov himself, he is determined to stay on the race into March 8, legal deadline for candidacy withdrawal.

    Miss Hakamada, liberal candidate, is away in Perm, North Urals, and Novosti could not contact her for an interview today. At any rate, she thinks Ivan Rybkin ought to quit-or he will discredit the presidential campaign, she remarked to our reporter on a previous occasion.

    Rybkin dropping out will not surprise Sergei Glazyev, say his election HQ activists. "That's none of our concern. Ivan Rybkin determined his fate long before." "As if I care! That's none of my problem," growled Oleg Malyshkin, Liberal Democratic hopeful, who is determined to fight to the bitter end.

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