The Central Election Commission has confirmed the results of the election of Volgograd mayor Yuri Chekhov, who won by 60 percent of the vote. Chekhov, who ran as an independent candidate, campaigned against the regional division of Viktor Chernomyrdin’s bloc "Russia is Our Home." The City Duma elections held at the same time were won decisively by communist candidates, which won in 22 of the city’s 24 electoral districts. (7)
Chekhov’s victory may be explained, less by his opposition to "Russia is Our Home," than by his good connections with the Russian leadership in Moscow. In fact, in 1989-90, Chekhov was the chief of the city’s executive administration when present Duma speaker Ivan Rybkin was the first secretary of Volgograd’s party organization. In this way, Chekhov’s election is similar to that of Sverdlovsk oblast governor Eduard Rossel, who also ran against "Russia is Our Home," but enjoyed good personal relations with Boris Yeltsin. As for the communists’ victory in the city Duma, the vote count shows that they got almost 40 percent of the vote, and that communist voters were mostly of the older generation. The communist victory, however, will not bring real changes in regional policy because, like the State Duma in Moscow, Volgograd’s Duma has little power vis-à-vis its executive branch.