"RED BELT" CITY RESTORES SOVIET SYSTEM.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 5
The city of Bryansk in south-western Russia is returning to the Soviet system under which the mayor of the city is appointed by the city council, not popularly elected as in other parts of Russia. The decision comes after the left-wing "Patriotic Bryansk" movement swept the board in last month’s council elections, which also saw the reelection of a Communist governor of Bryansk oblast. (Itar-Tass, December 24, 1996) The city council immediately announced that it was reverting to its old name, Soviet of People’s Deputies, and that it, and not the electorate, would henceforth choose the mayor. (Itar-Tass, January 7) The council has appointed as mayor the city’s former Communist party boss, Nikolai Sarviro.
Lying some 200 miles south-west of Moscow, Bryansk oblast borders on both Ukraine and Belarus. Living standards are low compared with those in the rest of Russia and the region regularly votes Communist. Following last month’s gubernatorial election, presidential aide Aleksandr Kazakov singled out the newly re-elected governor, Yury Lodkin, as the only out-and-out oppositionist with whom the Kremlin would have difficulty doing business. In fact, the independent-minded Lodkin has quarreled not only with Moscow but also with the leaders of the Russian Communist party. But he remains popular with local voters, who have consistently supported him at the ballot box.
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