13:43 GMT +317 March 2018
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    MOSCOW, MARCH 14, RIA NOVOSTI - Nikolai Kharitonov, Communist presidential hopeful, thinks he will score 25 per cent votes-just as he had intended. He has made 22% in Khakassia, Siberia's south, and 17% in Sakhalin, a large Far Eastern island. "We Communists were not such a success in [December last's] parliamentary election in Asian Russia," he said to newsmen.

    A parallel vote count does not notably differ from official preliminary returns, he added.

    Kharitonov had made 14.1% in Sakhalin and the Kuril islands, the Sakhalin regional election commission reported to Novosti, earlier on the day.

    "Don't be too quick with conclusions," Mr. Kharitonov snapped as a reporter asked whether it was a blunder for the Communist Party to nominate him instead of steeled Gennadi Zyuganov.

    Another presidential hopeful, Irina Hakamada, is her greatest success in the Buddhist-populated parts of Russia, he remarked.

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