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Harry Ivanovich Potter for governor?

Provincial candidate will test famous name in Russia

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start quotePeople are going mad; they are doing things unthinkable for a sane person.end quote
-- Archbishop Vikenty of Ekaterinburg

MOSCOW - Harry Potter has captivated readers and movie-goers worldwide, but a Russian man has decided to see if the famous name can pass an altogether different test -- winning him election as a provincial governor.

After previous unsuccessful election campaigns in the Sverdlovsk region, the 32-year-old hopes to enlist a little magical help from the boy wizard by changing his name to Harry Ivanovich Potter, NTV television reported.

Russians can change their family name, but must always have a middle name derived from their father's first name -- a law that prevented the aspiring politicians from being called plain Harry Potter.

The boy wizard, created by British author J.K. Rowling, has proved a controversial figure in Russia where some Russian Orthodox priests have said the Harry Potter stories encourage satanism and undermine Christianity.

"People are going mad; they are doing things unthinkable for a sane person," said Archbishop Vikenty of Ekaterinburg, capital of the Urals region, when NTV told him about the change.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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