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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Khloponin Beats Uss by 6% in Krasnoyarsk Runoff

Krasnoyarsk voters elected slick technocrat Alexander Khloponin as governor in a runoff election, the regional election commission said Monday.

Analysts said his win highlighted the emergence of a new breed of younger, smoother politician ahead of parliamentary elections in December 2003.

Khloponin, governor of the Taimyr region, scored 48.06 percent of the vote in Sunday's runoff, while Alexander Uss, speaker of the Krasnoyarsk legislative assembly, won 41.84 percent.

The victory of Khloponin, the 38-year-old former head of Norilsk Nickel, the region's top financial force, could mark a shift in politics, analysts said. Khloponin, seen as a well-groomed, efficient manager, could be the first of a generation of technocrats turned politicians after a decade of leaders recycled from Soviet bureaucracy, Communist Party elites and industry magnates.

"The Russian political elite over the past 10 years has been composed of the same faces -- like actors in a bad theater," said Andrei Ryabov of the Moscow Carnegie Center. "The spectators are fed up with the show."

He added: "We now see actors of a new genre, giving the elite something to think about. The next wave of elections could well see an overhaul of the governing class."

The outcome was also a blow for the political clan still sheltering under the umbrella of former President Boris Yeltsin, a group financially backed by Russian Aluminum, the country's top aluminum producer. RusAl supported Uss, while Khloponin was backed by Vladimir Potanin's Interros holding, which controls Norilsk Nickel. "This is a serious defeat for the Yeltsin clan in one of its most important regions," Ryabov said. "This could trigger a critical shift in the country's political balance."

The Kremlin, keen in earlier gubernatorial polls to wield its influence in the provinces, remained noticeably absent from this campaign.