Clean sweep: Russian woman defeats pro-Putin boss in council elections


In rural Russia, a woman cleaning the local government building was voted’ in office as she stood for re-election of her boss.

Clean sweep: Russian woman defeats pro-Putin boss in council elections


Marina Udgodskaya won with 62% of the vote, easily defeating the Kremlin's pro-United Russia ally and supporter Nikolai Loktev.

She stood for election only because no one had challenged the former police officer in the village of Povalikhino, Kostroma, about 525 kilometers east of Moscow.

Mr. Loktev allegedly persuaded Ms Udgodskaya to register as a "rival" to give the impression of a real competition.

However, his plan failed when backfired easily defeated him because he claimed only 34% of the vote.

Speaking to the BBC, a member of the local election commission in Podyom said: "Nikolai Loktev thought no one would vote for him and he would stay in the job. But people had enough and he Came out and chose Marina Udgodskaya.

He added: "She was shocked and she was devastated!"

Ms Udgodskaya wants to keep a low profile before her inauguration after winning national headlines this weekend.

In an interview with News Channel Podium after the election, he said: "I didn't think they would vote for me; I did nothing!"

He admitted: "I did not nominate myself. Nikolai Loktev asked me. There was no other person here and I was a fake candidate.

"I wanted to help her," he explained.

The tactics of "technical" or "puppet" candidates are not uncommon in Russia.

Ms. Udgodskaya village is the largest of the 30 that will now come under her jurisdiction.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr. Loktev said: "I have done everything necessary in my job. There is no problem in the village.

He added: "Obviously people wanted change."

Some say his victory was the result of anti-Kremlin sentiment and protests against the United Russia party, which is currently not doing well in the election.

The party won only 32% of the vote in the regional parliament in Kostroma.

MS Udgodskaya victory could be a testament to the smart voting strategy pushed by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, which encouraged the support of most candidates to defeat United Russia.

She has since become an unexpected hero for anti-Putin politicians in Russia.

Opposition politician Dmitry Gadkov has posted on Facebook that voters are now willing to support anyone but the Kremlin's obedient candidates.

"People are ready to vote for anything. It doesn't matter who you are in the profession, or what experience you have," he said.

"I think if you had tried to win the presidential election, you would have won there too, because 20 years of dictatorship have brought a common desire - change," Gadkov told Ms Udgodskaya.

He concluded: "And you, Marina, will definitely not use Nochuk. And that's a big advantage.

The newspaper Rosskaya Gazeta reports that MS Udgodskaya is unable to deny the mandate, as her supporters and the Pensioners' Party will have to pay for the full election to be re-elected.

Meanwhile, until she begins her new role, Ms. Udgodskaya will continue to clean up the administration building so that she can walk faster, while the person she defeated picked up her belongings.


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