Yuri Lebedev, the mayor of the city of Nizhni Novgorod situated on the Volga river, started today his election campaign – he is running for the governor of the Nizhni Novgorod Region. The start proved rather abrupt – he prohibited municipal officers from using personal and departmental automobiles and cell phones. The move was widely interpreted as Mr. Lebedev’s determination to bring the officials closer to the ordinary people – let them jostle in the overcrowded buses, hobble on the city’s snowy and icy sidewalks. Among PR-measures envisaged in the gubernatorial candidate’s programme also are: - providing backpays to municipal officers aimed to draw closer their lifestyles to that of common city residents; - municipal officers shall not turn up at work in warm underwear with the aim to interest them in the uninterrupted supply of warmth to residential buildings; - the “consolidation” of municipal officers by way of lodging into their apartments of bums selected by police for the period of the election campaign; - disconnection of municipal officers’ home phones. It may be a joke, though. Anyhow, while common people are having fun and feel like supporting the candidate, numerous bureaucrats will surely think twice before casting their ballots for Mr. Lebedev.
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated