Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 200

Turnout was high yesterday, especially in rural districts, as voters in Orel oblast in Russia’s black earth region went to the polls to elect their governor. According to preliminary reports, incumbent Yegor Stroev won 97 percent of the votes — the highest percentage recorded in a Russian regional election since the Soviet era. Stroev, an agricultural reformer who was a member of Mikhail Gorbachev’s last Politburo, was first elected governor of his native Orel in 1993. This time, he ran virtually unopposed. His only opponent, a woman collective farm manager, seems to have stood only in order to ensure that the statutory second name appeared on the ballot-papers. Several other candidates were refused registration on technicalities. (ORT, October 26; Itar-Tass, October 27) Some see Stroev, who since January 1996 has doubled as speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament, as a possible presidential contender.

Murky Privatization in Russia’s Second City.