The conflict between the Russian federal authorities and Primorsky krai governor Yevgeny Nazdratenko intensified further yesterday when First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov told Russian TV that early elections should be called in the far eastern region. (RTR, June 15) Last week, President Boris Yeltsin dispatched Nemtsov to investigate the situation in the region and said he would be guided by Nemtsov’s advice. Nemtsov said he told Nazdratenko that, in his view, the best solution would be for both Nazdratenko and his arch-rival, Vladivostok mayor Viktor Cherepkov, to step down and allow new people to be elected to their posts. Nemtsov admitted that Nazdratenko had not immediately agreed to this proposal but said he had promised to think it over and reply on June 16. Last night, Nazdratenko told Russian TV that he had no objection to the idea of fresh elections, but said that if they took place he would stand for reelection and was confident he would win. (RTR, June 15)
Nazdratenko might well be reelected. Although Nemtsov claims that Nazdratenko’s position is weaker now than it was a month ago, Izvestia reported on June 10 that it had already received "a kilo and a half" of letters from local people supporting Nazdratenko. Nemtsov said that if Nazdratenko were to be reelected, the federal government would have to work with him, but the Kremlin is probably not inclined to take that chance. It seems more likely that, if Nazdratenko refuses to withdraw from the race, Yeltsin will sack him and criminal charges will be brought against him. First Deputy Premier Anatoly Chubais has already said that Nazdratenko should be made to bear "personal responsibility" for the region’s problems.
Samara Governor Backs Presidential Right to Sack Elected Executives.