Russian Communists back Zyuganov against Putin

December 17, 2011 13:53

MOSCOW - Russia's opposition Communists picked veteran leader Gennady Zyuganov on Saturday to run for president, seeking to build their strong showing in a Dec. 4 parliamentary election into a credible challenge against front-runner Vladimir Putin.

Zyuganov, 67, was unanimously backed by Communist Party delegates for what will be his fourth Kremlin bid after he lost in 1996 to Boris Yeltsin, in 2000 against Putin and in 2008 to incumbent Dmitry Medvedev.

Although Putin, now prime minister, is likely to win, this month's election in which the Communists doubled their vote to 20 percent, and ensuing protests against alleged election fraud have lifted the opposition's morale.

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