Humorist-performer Mikhail Evdokimov was elected the governor of Altai by 49.53 percent of voters (he surpassed the acting governor by 3 percent of votes).
The residents of Altai region borrowed the innovation of Californians. Arnold Schwarzenegger looks stronger than Mikhail Evdokimov, but Altai is not California. In both cases the celebrities could win because of the low popularity rating of the regional governors. The jokes Mr. Evdokimov is saying at his concerts, give no reason to consider him as an experienced leader, but democracy is about making wonders. Arnold Schwarzenegger has never made an impression of a think tank, but now he is acting very smart and consistent at the governor post. Mikhail Evdokimov can follow this example and produce good results as well.
The slogan, “Jokes aside!” became the motto of Mikhail Evdokimov for election campaign. First his intention to run was estimated by the regional government as a joke.
The press secretary of the former governor Andrey Lyapunov said first that Mr. Evdokimov’s running would vivify the boring election campaign, “One should treat Mikhail Evdokimov’s campaign with humor”.
Submitting the documents to the election commission, Mr. Evdokimov said, “People are asking me to run. I have had no need of financial benefits for a long time, I just want to help my fellow-residents of Altai”.
The idea to become governor was given to Mr. Evdokimov by President Putin
In August 2003 Mikhail Evdokimov invited Vladimir Putin for dinner when the President and his family were on holiday in town Belokurikha. Vladimir Putin came to village Verkhe-Obskoe where the performer was residing. They had dinner and went for a walk on the river in the motorboat. At one point, the President asked if Mikhail Evdokimov was going to run.
There are no grounds for excitement
Deputy of the State Duma from Altai region Vladimir Ryzhkov said in an Altapress interview, “We should perceive the results of the elections calmly. People has made their choice, and this is there right. The election results demonstrated that Altai region is in crisis, no candidate gained even half of the votes. Altai residents split into two almost equal parts, and each of them supported one of the two candidates for the governor post. This demonstrated that people are disappointed with the way their lives are, they do not lay much hopes on the candidates. There is much hard work for the new governor ahead". Mr. Ryzhkov named drug trafficking through the region, the need to protect the state border and maintain strategic producing of grain as the key problems the new governor is to deal with.