“Red Belt” tightens in Russia. FSB wins election in Smolensk region

The administrative reform of the Kremlin is gathering pace in the country. FSB (Federal Security Bureau) General Viktor Maslov won the gubernatorial election in the Smolensk region on Sunday. Maslov won 40.7% of the vote, while incumbent governor Alexander Prokhorov won 34.5%, Interfax news agency reports.

The Smolensk region is traditionally referred to as the region “of the red belt” in Russia, the territory in which the residents support communists. Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist Party used to say that “the red belt” is the territory where the government is more honest and fair, “where it takes care of the people.”

Alexander Prokhorov’s four years of work on the position of the government did not help him to be re-elected in spite of “his care for the people.” The people have made their choice. The election campaign in the Smolensk region could be an example to follow for other regions of Russia, although there was an event that shocked the Smolensk region a few days before the voting: the attempt on vice-governor Anatoly Makarenko’s life.

Alexander Prokhorov's followers did not fail to use that incident for their own objectives. Makarenko charged the head of the local department of FSB Maslov (Prokhorov’s opponent) with attempted assassination. “On May 12, Viktor Maslov personally threatened. He asked me, “Are you still free?” Witnesses can confirm that. There were no other threats. A criminal manages the FSB department of the region,” – claimed Makarenko.

The regional administration decided to address President Putin with a request to “render the necessary help to regional governing bodies in order to establish law and order on the territory of the region.” It was said in the address that the attempted assassination was “another attempt of Prokhorov’s adversaries to intimidate him, to make him quit the election race.” They also reminded the president that “the headquarters was bombed and the houses of the supervisors of the election campaign of the incumbent governor were set on fire.” The authors of the address also said that Prokhorov’s driver died as a result of the attempted assasination; he was the father of two children.

Maslov did argue with the opponents, thereby preserving his reputation of a fighter against criminality. The proper election campaign predetermined his victory at the elections. The motto of Maslov’s campaign was: “The heroic land deserves worthy government.” The defeat of the Communist party testifies to its crisis, but its leadership would not notice it. The party has already experienced the defeat at the gubernatorial elections in the Penza region, and Smolensk is the latest example. What’s next?

Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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