Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Russian mayoral election

Sometimes a plethora of candidates is a sign of vigorous democracy; other times it's a sign of silliness. Which is it in Sochi?

Russian City Finds Race for Mayor Ever Odder

"Now in the running to become mayor of the southern Russian city of Sochi: a former ballerina for the Bolshoi Ballet; a porn star who sometimes goes by the name Velvet Angel; the head of Russia’s largest Masonic lodge; an Anglophile newspaper mogul; a Yeltsin-era reformer who is anathema to the Kremlin; and, among 15 or so other contenders, the president of Russia’s Arm Wrestling Federation...

"The central mystery surrounds Boris Y. Nemtsov [being arrested above], a longtime opposition leader...

"Mayoral races are among the few remaining opportunities for independent candidates to run for office in Russia, where the Kremlin appoints regional leaders and the United Russia party dominates parliamentary races. Sochi is a particular plum, offering the winner some access to the Olympic construction budget, which is around $6 billion. The leading candidate is the acting mayor, Anatoly Pakhomov, the United Russia candidate.

"That did not stop the ballerina Anastasia Volochkova from declaring her candidacy on Thursday. Ms. Volochkova, a favorite of Russian gossip columnists, was famously dismissed from the Bolshoi over her weight (110 pounds)...

"'On the list are already 20 candidates, who all resemble each other,' Ms. Volochkova said. 'Twenty men, who, more than anything, all need money and power. There are few who worry about people, they are all interested in the Olympic budget.'..."

What You Need to Know -- a study guide for AP Comparative Government and Politics

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At 7:51 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

Russia: Oligarch Removed From Olympic City’s Mayoral Ballot "Aleksandr Y. Lebedev, an outspoken oligarch, has been thrown off the ballot in the mayoral election in Sochi, the southern city that is to host the Winter Olympics in 2014. A judge ruled Monday that Mr. Lebedev, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, had failed to file required paperwork. On Tuesday, Mr. Lebedev called the decision politically motivated. He said he would appeal and continue campaigning."


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