Former vice president Aleksandr Rutskoi has been overwhelmingly elected governor in Russia’s Kursk oblast. Provisional results of yesterday’s election give him 77 percent of the vote. (Radio Liberty, October 21) Kursk, on the Ukrainian border, is part of Russia’s "Red Belt" and Communist candidate Aleksandr Mikhailov had been expected to defeat the Kremlin-supported incumbent. But Mikhailov stood down on the last day of campaigning and called voters to support Rutskoi, leader of the nationalist Derzhava (Great Power) movement. Mikhailov acted after the presidium of Russia’s Supreme Court ordered that Rutskoi should be registered as a candidate. Initially, local election officials had refused to register Rutskoi on the grounds that he no longer lives in Kursk, even though he was born and raised there. The Supreme Court decision left Rutskoi only 36 hours to campaign, but his battle against the authorities only increased his popularity. The governorship will give Rutskoi, a former Air Force general and Afghan vet who led the October 1993 parliamentary rebellion against Yeltsin, a seat in the upper house of the Russian parliament.
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