Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 159

The first round of an election for Governor of Sverdlovsk Oblast, held on August 29, was inconclusive (NTV, August 29; Itar-Tass, August 30). As had been predicted, incumbent Eduard Rossel came first with 39 percent of the votes. Lying in second place however was not, as had been expected, the prominent mayor of Yekaterinburg, Arkady Chernetsky. Instead, the runner-up was the relatively unknown Aleksandr Burkov, with 18 percent of the votes. Chernetsky came third, with 15 percent. Burkov is the leader of a local socialist movement called May which he set up only a few months ago with the avowed aim of “protecting the destitute.” Chernetsky was universally acknowledged to have run a lackluster campaign, but the fact that he heads the Sverdlovsk regional division of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov’s Fatherland movement was expected to win him votes. Instead, Chernetsky’s defeat suggests that Luzhkov’s movement will face formidable hurdles in December’s general election, when it must overcome voters’ antipathy for everything associated with the capital city. Also doing poorly was the communist candidate, Vladimir Kadochnikov, who won only 9 percent of the votes. Rossel and Burkov will now take part in the run-off on September 12. Favorite to win is Rossel, who has held the post since 1991 with a break between 1993 and 1995, when Yeltsin sacked him for trying to declare a “Urals Republic” on the territory of the oblast.