Publication: Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 225

The situation in Primorsky Krai has become increasingly tense with the approach of the election for its regional legislative assembly, set for December 9. On Tuesday (December 4), Vladimir Maksunov, a candidate for the seat representing the krai’s 13th electoral district was attacked by two men while he was on his way to a meeting with State Duma Deputy Viktor Cherepkov, the former Vladivostok mayor. According to an aide to Maksunov, the attackers stabbed the candidate in the arm and thigh and struck him in the head with a blunt object, knocking him out. Maksunov was hospitalized with knife wounds and a concussion. Maksunov’s aide reported that the candidate had received several threats over the telephone warning him to withdraw his candidacy. Late last month, three aides to a candidate in the city of Ussuriisk, Nikolai Golik, were severely beaten by a group of men with baseball bats. Golik also said he received anonymous threats prior to the attack (see the Monitor, December 3).

Meanwhile, the allegation recently made by Aleksandr Drozdov, deputy presidential envoy to the Far Eastern federal district, that fifty of the 252 registered candidates in the Primorsky legislative assembly elections were “connected to criminal structures,” has come under sharp attack in the krai. Valery Manilov, who represents Primorsky Krai in the Federation Council, called Drozdov’s claim a “lie.” At the same time, Maria Solvenko, chief editor of the regional newspaper Narodnoe Veche, who is herself a candidate, said that she would sue both Drozdov and his boss, Konstantin Pulikovsky, President Vladimir Putin’s envoy to the Far Eastern federal district. Solvenko accused the two of interfering in the region’s election, saying that by refusing to name the fifty candidates with alleged criminal ties, Drozdov had cast a shadow on every candidate.

Sergei Shertyuk, the chief federal inspector in Primorsky Krai, defended Drozdov, saying the issue was not precisely how many candidates had criminal links. “The problem exists: Today organized crime groups are thirsting for power, and this is confirmed by information from the law enforcement organs,” Shertyuk said. “Organized crime groups have the goal of entrenching themselves at the level of municipal structures, Federation structures, in all the structures of power. The presidential envoy’s office is highlighting this problem but in no way is interfering in the electoral process… nor casting a shadow on all of the candidates.” Shertyuk said that while the current election campaign appears to be more “peaceful” and “smooth” than the election for the region’s governor, which took place this past May, this was only so “at first glance” (, December 3; see the Monitor, December 3). Of the 252 candidates who registered to run in the Primorye legislative assembly race, ten have since dropped out (, December 7).

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