Russian election authorities barred writer Bukovsky, who has been living in the U.K. for the past 31 years, from the elections on December 22, citing a law that presidential candidates must have lived at least 10 years in Russia.
Nikolai Konkin, secretary for the Central Election Commission, said 65-year-old Bukovsky himself wrote in his application that his permanent address was in Cambridge, in the U.K. He holds both Russian and British citizenship.
A writer and publicist, Bukovsky served a total of 12 years in labor camps, prisons, and psychiatric hospitals in the Soviet Union for his anti-Soviet views. He was released in 1976 and deported to the U.K. in exchange for Chilean Communist leader Luis Corvalan. The dissident was given Russian citizenship in 1992 by late president Boris Yeltsin.
The election authorities have registered two of 11 independent candidates - former premier and leader of the opposition People's Democratic Union, Mikhail Kasyanov, and leader of the Democratic Party, Andrei Bogdanov.
Other contestants are Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, ultra-nationalist LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and Dmitry Medvedev, a candidate from the ruling pro-Kremlin party. Medvedev has been openly backed by President Vladimir Putin.
Another candidate, Boris Nemtsov, from the right-wing Union of Right Forces, has stepped down from the presidential race.