As the pundits had predicted, no victor emerged in the June 29 elections either for a new governor of Nizhny Novgorod oblast or for a new mayor of the city of Samara. (RTR, June 30) Run-off elections will be held in two weeks’ time. The identity of the leading candidates also comes as no surprise. In Nizhny Novgorod, only three percentage points separated the two front-runners: the government-supported Ivan Sklyarov and the Communist-backed Gennady Khodyrev.
One reason for the closeness of the race seems to be that voters had difficulty telling the two men apart. Sklyarov has worked for the past six years on Boris Nemtsov’s team of reformers, yet he is a former Communist Party official and is regarded by the reformist camp as only a reluctant convert to market economics. Khodyrev, on the other hand, is the former Communist Party boss of the region who supported Mikhail Gorbachev’s brand of reform communism in the 1980s and has in the 1990s embraced free enterprise, becoming a successful businessman himself. His victory would nonetheless be an important psychological victory for the opposition.
In Samara, the run-off will pit the government-supported candidate Anatoly Afanasyev, who won 28 percent of the vote in the first round, against Georgy Limansky, who won 20 percent. Limansky is supported by Aleksandr Lebed and by Grigory Yavlinsky’s Yabloko. (Itar-Tass, June 30)
Unlikely Russian Representation at NATO Summit.