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Russian election date confirmed

  • Story Highlights
  • Russian presidential election date confirmed for March 2 by parliament
  • President Putin unable to stand for new term but expected to try to influence events
  • Garry Kasparov jailed for organizing protest, resisting arrest, chanting slogans
  • Chess legend says government is harassing him to keep Vladimir Putin in power
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MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- The Russian presidential election will take place on March 2, the upper chamber of Russia's parliament, the Federation Council, announced Monday, as opposition leader Garry Kasparov continued his five-day jail term.

The election date has been unofficially known for a number of months but this is the first time it has been officially announced.

Presidential hopefuls must register between December 12 and January 16.

The election announcement comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin faces accusations that his government is cracking down on democratic dissent.

Riot police detained protesters -- including Gary Kasparov -- after breaking up a pro-democracy rally in Moscow Saturday.

The opposition leader was charged and sentenced to five days in jail for organizing an unsanctioned procession, resisting arrest and chanting anti-government slogans. Video Watch police hustle Kasparov away at protest »

The chess grand master claimed his conviction is part of a government effort to harass him.

It is not the first time Kasparov has clashed with the authorities. He was detained briefly, then fined, in April during another anti-Putin protest, when, witnesses said, he tried to lead a small group of demonstrators through lines of police.

Putin -- who is outlawed from seeking a third term under the Russian constitution -- has repeatedly denied he will contest the election.

Despite his claim, there has been widespread speculation in the Russian media that he plans to stand.

He has accepted the top spot on the list of candidates for the Kremlin-allied United Russia party in parliamentary elections to be held on December 2.

At a rally last week, he warned supporters of those "inside the country who count on support of foreign funds and governments, and not their own people," The Associated Press reported, an apparent reference to opponents such as Kasparov.

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Speculation in the Russian media has pointed to Putin taking on the role of prime minister, a move which the Russian leader has refused to rule out.

Either way, Putin is still expected to continue to play a prominent role in Russian politics for some time yet. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Maxim Tkachenko in Moscow and Alphonso Van Marsh contributed to this report.

All About Garry KasparovVladimir PutinRussiaUnited Russia Party

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