Presidential elections took place in Yakutia last weekend. Only seven candidates out of the eleven were allowed to participayte in the elections. Incumbent President of Yakutia Mikhail Nikolayev quit the pre-election struggle and created an opposition between the local elite and the federal center. The federal center decided to apply a new model for relations between the center and the regions to Yakutia, but it was not in a hurry in make use of the administrative reserve. Moreover, the federal center encroached upon the power granted to the local “barons” by Boris Yeltsin. The Kremlin even proposed a candidate capable to substitute Yakutia’s President Nikolayev. Deputy Public Prosecutor of Russia Vasily Kolmogorov is considered to be such a person. Mr.Kolmogorov knows the management system from the inside very well. He is from Yakutia, which is also important for the local mentality, as the federal center thinks. But he was and remains an foreign Varangian for Yakutia. In addition, the local elite contributed greatly to such treatment of Vasily Kolmogorov by Yakutia’s electors.
The opposition between the federal center and the local elite was caused by fears of possible changes. Such an attitude led to Kolmogorov’s withdrawal from the pre-election campaign. The federal center was also dissatisfied with Kolmogorov’s PR campaign.
Under such conditions, ALROSA President Vyacheslav Shtyrov turned out to be the only real candidate for the presidential post. He was withdrawn from the pre-election struggle twice, but was rehabilitated by the Supreme Court of Russia. They say in Moscow that the rehabilitation was the result of a packet agreement between the regional elite and the federal center. The agreement says that the center gets control over ALROSA by appointment of its representative to the region and the regional elite is to retain its interests and that the president will not encroach upon their privileges.
The results of the Sunday's elections cause Shtyrov’s team to be rather optimistic. It is evident now that the second round of elections is inevitable. According to the local legislation, a candidate who gets 50% of the voters plus one vote can become the president. Vyacheslav Shtyrov received only 45% of votes in the first round of elections. However, his priority over the other candidates is enough. The second round of elections is scheduled for January 13.
As for elections to the Legislative Assembly of the Krasnoyarsk region, there was no great rush as in Yakutia, but there was an intrigue as well.
According to provisional results, the coalition “Our (Nashi)!” received 20.23%, Anatoly Bykov’s coaltion received 17.13%, the coalition “For Alexander Lebed” received 15.26% of votes, the Communist Party received 11.11%, Unity received 8.88%, and the Northern Party received a bit more than 5% of the vote. The remaining six coalitions did not get over a 5% barrier.
Anatoly Bykov won the elections in a one-seat constituency as well. The regional election committee reports that he received 52.65% of the votes. He passed ahead of other candidates. It should be mentioned that Mr.Bykov himself is in a detention center in Lefortovo. He is accused of the assassination of Vilor Struganov. However, the case is more likely to go to pieces: the other day, a key witness for the prosecution, Alexander Vasilenko, rejected the testimony. In his words, it was Struganov himself who gave Vasilenko the gun to accuse Bykov of the assassination later on.
Vilor Struganov also took part in the elections, but received only 6.21% of the votes (the regional administration supported his candidature). This is at the time when his rival, Vyacheslav Novikov, received 55.13% of the votes.
Thus, the opposition to Alexander Lebed was a sure winner of the elections. Lebed’s coalition will no longer have a seat in the local parliament. He will have to compromise with the opponents or create coalitions against his own interests to submit the laws he needs to the Legislative Assembly. Being aware of the general’s character, we may say that he will not do so.
To conclude, we can hardly consider normal the deputies’ law-making activity after the publishing of the elections’ results. Alexander Lebed failed to exert pressure on the local oligarchs, to agree with the federal center on transfer of some taxes to the local budget. This is to be taken into consideration regarding the coming gubernatorial elections in the Krasnoyarsk region.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.RU
Translated by Maria Gousseva
In the photo: Vyacheslav Shtyrov
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2001/12/24/35080.html