The cascade of decisions to abandon presidential bids — by Garry Kasparov, then Vladimir Ryzhkov, and, finally, by Grigory Yavlinsky — is a clear victory for Mikhail Kasyanov and his People’s Democratic Union. It is also a testament to Kasyanov’s remarkable political acumen.
The December 2 elections to the State Duma have convincingly shown that popular support for the so-called "democratic" opposition is negligible. It became obvious that only a single candidate from the radical opposition has a chance, however remote, to collect 2,000,000 signatures needed to register for the March 2 ballot.
Kasyanov has calculated it right, skipped the Duma elections, and instead focused on the paperwork needed to be filed with the Central Election Commission.
Now, Kasyanov has a clear headstart over his rivals who have wasted their time on organizing meaningless — and often illegal — protest marches.
When Kasparov & Co realized that they had been outsmarted, they had no other choice but to call it quits. Ridiculous explanations — Kasparov and Ryzhkov both claimed inability to find places to hold meetings of the initiative groups — have inevitably followed.