has so far withstood federal efforts to force changes in the law he pushed through in 1997 to allow the free sale of agricultural land, the first such law in the country.

Where he has met resistance, Kirienko has backed away from confrontation. Instead he hopes to turn a setback into a victory by redefining certain nonconforming local laws as “progressive” or “efficient” statutes that should not be overturned but could serve as models for the central government. He has asked