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Last Updated:  Monday, 3 March, 2003, 11:08 GMT
Russian 'Harry Potter' stands for office
Harry Potter
The original Harry Potter
A Russian man is hoping to produce a little magic to get him elected a regional governor, by taking the name of Harry Potter.

The fictional boy wizard, created by the British author JK Rowling, is hugely popular in Russia.

Russian NTV television reported that the 32-year-old man, who has stood unsuccessfully in past elections, has parliamentary and even presidential ambitions if he gets elected in the Ural mountain Sverdlovsk region.

But he will not be able to call himself plain Harry Potter, as election rules state that Russian citizens who change their name have to retain their patronymic - their genuine father's first name.

People are going mad, they are doing things unthinkable for a sane person
Archbishop Vikenty of Yekaterinburg
The man, who has so far remained anonymous, said he will reveal his true identity on 29 March, when he receives his new passport.

Harry Potter has his detractors in Russia despite the popularity of the books

Some Church groups have tried to ban them, arguing that they encourage Satanism and the occult.

Archbishop Vikenty of Yekaterinburg said of the attempt to use the character's name for political ends: "People are going mad, they are doing things unthinkable for a sane person."

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