While the seemingly endless energy crisis in the Primorya region of Russia’s Far East had improved somewhat by the end of 2000, it deteriorated once again with the New Year. Indeed, at the beginning of last December, as many as 50,000 of the region’s residents were without heat, but it had been restored to all but 4,500 residents or so by the end of the month. As of January 3, however, the number of those without heat in Primorya was back up to more than 13,000, and the region was hit by a severe snowstorm six days later. Konstantin Pulikovsky, President Putin’s representative in the Far Eastern federal district, put the blame for the crisis squarely on Yevgeny Nazdratenko, the krai’s controversial governor, and it looked increasingly likely that Nazdratenko would become the first test case for Putin’s newly acquired power to remove governors from office.