Sakharov Nominated to Represent All of Moscow
The Associated Press
Jan. 22, 1989
MOSCOW (AP) _ A meeting of more than 900 people Sunday nominated Andrei D. Sakharov for a seat on the new Congress of People's Deputies representing Moscow, an activist said.
The nomination puts the human rights activist, physicist and Nobel Peace Prize winner on an electoral collision course with former Moscow Communist Party leader Boris Yeltsin and a powerful Politburo member.
It also gives him two nominations in the upcoming elections - one as a candidate representing Moscow's Oktyabr district, which was made last week, and one as a candidate for the entire capital.
Sunday's nomination came at a meeting organized by the Memorial group, said Yuri Mityunov. Memorial is a group formed in memory of victims of dictator Josef Stalin.
Mityunov, a participant in the meeting at the House of Filmmakers on Moscow's north side, said a member of Moscow's Election Commission informed the meeting three other candidates so far had been nominated for the same seat.
They include Yeltsin, the still-popular former Moscow party boss who was sacked by President Mikhail S. Gorbachev in November 1987 because of his management style; and Vitaly I. Vorotnikov, the president of the Russian republic and a full member of the Communist Party Politburo.
About 500 people pressed outside the Filmmakers' building, unable to get into the 3 1/2 -hour meeting that was hastily organized by Memorial on Friday, said Mityunov, a member of the meeting's accounting commission.
Mityunov said 970 people raised pink cards to nominate Sakharov unanimously and that he accepted.
Memorial is not officially recognized and thus does not have the right to nominate candidates, but the meeting was of a group of Moscow voters rather than a meeting of Memorial.
The Congress of People's Deputies will consist of 2,250 members, two-thirds elected on the basis of geographical districts and one-third from Communist Party, trade union, professional and social organizations. It will choose more than 400 of its members to form a new, more active Supreme Soviet Parliament.
Sakharov, 67, appeared at Sunday's meeting to read a platform he originally presented to his institute colleagues Friday and to answer questions, Mityunov said. His platform calls for release of all prisoners of conscience, freedom of association, more military cutbacks and economic reforms.
Sakharov was rejected as a candidate by the prestigious Academy of Sciences last week, causing an angry protest by his co-workers at the Lebedev Institute of Physics. They then nominated him as a candidate from Moscow's Oktyabr district.
If elected from the Oktyabr region, Sakharov would hold one of 24 seats from Moscow. If elected to the Supreme Soviet, he would be a member of the Soviet of the Union, the house in the Supreme Soviet whose representatives are elected on the basis of geographical districts.
If elected on the basis of the nomination Sunday, Sakharov would represent all of Moscow and be a member of the Soviet of Nationalities in the Supreme Soviet, which will provide representation in the highest legislative body for all of the more than 100 ethnic groups that make up the Soviet Union.
Sakharov's nomination now goes to an electoral commission that will select the candidates to actually be placed before voters March 26. It could put forward all of those nominated, but it also could reduce the number to only one. No date has been set for its meeting.