Publication: Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 215

Elections for Krasnoyarsk Krai’s legislative assembly are scheduled for December 23, and the region’s political landscape in the walk-up to the vote in some ways resembles that of a Latin American country. The legislative assembly’s current chairman, Aleksandr Uss, recently called the contest “very difficult and dirty.” He charged that the region’s executive branch has been widely employing “dirty election technologies” and “administrative resources,” the latter term referring to the levers available to an incumbent governor that give him an unfair advantage in an election. He also charged that the region’s municipal authorities have been getting “instructions” and “directives,” and that financial support for districts has been conditioned on the political position of their chiefs (Polit.ru, November 16).

Indeed, Krasnoyarsk’s incumbent governor, Aleksandr Lebed–the former general, presidential candidate and head of the Kremlin’s Security Council–is doing everything he can to assert control over the region’s legislative assembly, given that such control will play a major role in determining the outcome of the next gubernatorial election in Krasnoyarsk, set to take place in a year and a half (Novye Izvestia, November 14). If Lebed loses in his bid to control the Krasnoyarsk legislative assembly, he risks repeating the fate of another ex-general, Aleksandr Rutskoi, who came to power in Kursk from outside of that region but was removed from his post after the local elite united against him. At the moment, the Krasnoyarsk legislative assembly is dominated by anti-Lebed forces. It recently declared itself in opposition to his administration’s economic policy (Regions.ru, November 13).

Lebed has also won some battles. The krai’s election commission, for example, refused to register for the legislative assembly election the “Zubov Bloc,” run by Valery Zubov, whom Lebed defeated in the last governor’s race. The election commission justified its decision not to register Zubov’s bloc on the grounds that its emblem was similar to political billboards put up by the People’s Party of Russia, to which Zubov allegedly belongs, arguing that the similarity would unfairly influence voters (Polit.ru, November 13). On the other hand, the krai election commission registered the “Anatoly Bykov Bloc,” led by the controversial krai legislative assembly deputy, former Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Factory chief and major Lebed opponent (Polit.ru, November 16). Bykov, who has enormous influence in the krai legislature, is currently in prison in Moscow on charges that he planned to murder Pavel Struganov, the Krasnoyarsk businessman known in criminal circles as “Pasha Tsvetomuzyka” (roughly translated as Pasha the Disco Ball). Bykov’s incarceration, however, is not preventing him from running in the Krasnoyarsk legislative assembly elections, and the fight between his supporters and those of the “For Lebed” bloc is likely become the election’s main battle. Struganov, it should be noted, is also running for a legislative assembly seat (Polit.ru, November 16).