Despite early claims of voter fraud, there will likely be no formal protest of the results of Moscow's mayoral elections.
Sergei Kiriyenko's Moscow Alternative bloc - Mayor Yury Luzhkov's strongest competitor - has "collected a lot of materials on problems with the voting, which everyone already knows about," vice mayoral candidate Vyacheslav Glazychev said in a telephone interview Monday.
But the party will not contest the results, which gave Luzhkov a 59 percentage point margin of victory.
"There's no doubt who won," Glazychev said. "I myself stood for an hour to vote. A lot of young people would just lose patience and leave. But we have to be realists. That doesn't change the picture. Luzhkov would still be mayor."
Alexei Mitrofanov, a candidate with Vladimir Zhirinovsky's nationalist Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), said Sunday night his party was also considering a protest.
"I don't believe the Moscow election results," he said. "Everything is kept under control here, but they get away with it. Probably, there will be a court case."
But analysts said they didn't believe the party would follow through. And Luzhkov's backers said any protest would be pointless.
"That's their right, but what's the point?" said Mikhail Solomentsev, a Luzhkov spokesman. "A 70 percent result is not the result of fraud."
- SAM GREENE
and EKATERINA LARINA