Voters go to the polls this weekend in Nizhny Novgorod oblast to elect a governor to replace Boris Nemtsov, who moved to the Russian government in March. They will also be voting in the city of Samara, to elect a mayor in place of Oleg Sysuev, who joined the government at the same time. In Nizhny Novgorod, the pro-government "Russia is our Home" and Grigory Yavlinsky’s Yabloko are both supporting Ivan Sklyarov, the present mayor of the city of Nizhny. Sklyarov faces strong opposition from Gennady Khodyrev, who is backed not only by the Communists but also by Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democrats and Aleksandr Lebed’s Truth and Order party. Khodyrev was Communist Party boss in Nizhny during the Soviet period, when the city was closed to outsiders and went by the name of Gorky. In all, five candidates are running and a second round will likely have to be held in two weeks time.
A runoff is also predicted in Samara, where voters will have a wide choice of candidates, including the city’s former Communist Party boss, several "new Russians," a scientist, a doctor, a trade union official, and a policeman. Lebed was in the city last week to campaign on behalf of Georgy Limansky, presently chairman of the regional legislature. (ORT, June 25)