A Communist-backed candidate has won the gubernatorial election in Kaluga oblast, south of Moscow. The Communist victory means that opposition candidates have now won more of this fall’s series of regional governorships than they have lost. In the run-off held in Kaluga over the weekend, the 56-year-old Communist-backed candidate, Valeri Sudarenkov, won 63.5 percent of the vote. He defeated the Kremlin-backed incumbent, 48-year-old Oleg Savchenko, who was put in the post by President Yeltsin only six months ago. Sudarenkov is a former apparatchik who made his career in the Communist party organization in Kaluga oblast and spent several years as deputy prime minister in Soviet Uzbekistan.
Kaluga suffers from high unemployment and that, together with wages and pensions arrears, is seen as having lead to Savchenko’s defeat. (Interfax, November 10). Sudarenkov’s victory did not, however, appear to faze the deputy head of Yeltsin’s presidential administration, Aleksandr Kazakov, who told journalists that Sudarenkov is a professional with whom the Kremlin could do business. (ORT, November 10) Meanwhile, another opposition leader, former vice president Aleksandr Rutskoi, has been sworn in as governor of Kursk oblast. (NTV, November 10) Rutskoi made history by becoming the first Russian regional governor since the October Revolution to take his oath of office in church.
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