Azeri Oscar Winner Gives Up Russia Passport to Run for President

Oscar-winning screenwriter Rustam Ibrahimbayov, the united opposition’s sole candidate to run for the Azeri presidency, renounced his Russian citizenship to meet qualification requirements.

Ibrahimbayov, 74, who is based in Moscow, gave up his Russian passport, Eldar Namazov, head of the executive office of the National Council of Democratic Forces, an alliance of the country’s main opposition parties and groups, said today by phone from the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku. Azeri law bans people with dual citizenship from running for the Caspian Sea nation’s top post.

The challenger will face President Ilham Aliyev, 51, in an election slated for October. Aliyev is seeking a third term in office after taking over from his father, Heydar, in a disputed vote 10 years ago.

Ibrahimbayov co-wrote with Nikita Mikhalkov the 1994 film “Burnt by the Sun,” which won an Academy Award for best foreign-language film.

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