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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kaliningrad Readies for Polls

Voters in the Kaliningrad region will head to the polls Sunday to elect a governor, continuing a series of local ballots which have set pro-government candidates against mostly communist opponents.


Fifty-two regions are due to choose new governors before the end of the year, and of four local elections held since the presidential elections in June, two have been won by the government and two by the opposition.


In this weekend's election, Yury Matochkin, incumbent governor of Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea, will face six challengers. Two of them -- Leonid Gorbenko, head of the Kaliningrad sea fishing port, and Yury Semyonov, deputy chairman of the regional duma -- are considered to be serious contenders, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported Friday.


Matochkin, who is the initiator of Kaliningrad's free economic zone, is receiving support from local members of Our Home Is Russia, the movement headed by Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin; Yabloko, economist Grigory Yavlinsky's party; and the "Honor and Motherland" movement of Alexander Lebed.


Semyonov, who is supported by the Communist Party, has avoided political slogans, concentrating on the issue of "social protection" for the population and local industry, the newspaper reported.


According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Gorbenko, the port chief, has the reputation of being a dynamic administrator.


The race has been very heated, the newspaper reported, with candidates exchanging lawsuit threats. Several weeks ago, one of the minor candidates allegedly discovered a bomb in his car.


Meanwhile, a candidate in the race for the governorship of the region of Krasnodar, in southern Russia, has warned that the vote, set for Oct. 27, will be falsified. The vote is attracting media interest because the incumbent is Nikolai Yegorov, formerly President Boris Yeltsin's chief of staff.


Evegeny Kharitonov, one of the candidates in Kransodar, told reporters in Moscow on Thursday that he and other candidates were being kept off the airwaves by Yegorov, Segodnya reported Friday.