Oleg Kireev on 7 Jan 2001 16:17:11 -0000

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<nettime> mailghetto # 32 (Kurgan-trip-2)

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KURGAN-TRIP (second part)

So, there were two main competitors: the ruling governor Oleg Bogomolov and the director of local yeast-producing plant Nikolay Bagretsov. The last minute before the start of the first tour speaker of the regional Duma Oleg Efremov joined the leading group. He didn't have any support team of political technologists. The gap between him and Bagretsov who had spent large sums of money for invited specialists from Moscow, however, turned out to be averagely 6 per cent (16% - 23%). No one actually knows where Bagretsov gets money from. Perhaps not from the yeast plant, where 200 people work. The initiator of the campaign was a local businessman Aleynikov, and the pre-election headquarters was stationed in the apartments of the latter. Bogomolov's headquarters, consisting of "high-class" specialists from Ekaterinburg, was financially supported by rich businessmen of the city. As Kurgan journalists said, during his four years' ruling in a poor region Bagretsov had allowed several ty!
coons of the Ural metallurgical business to privatize some factories, and hence they're personally interested in his further ruling the region. Bogomolov himself denied that. When he was questioned about his political technologists, he responded:"Nothing of the sort, I have young people working for me, even younger than twenty, who work for me of pure enthusiasm". Besides political technologists, all the local media worked for him. The specific character of relationship between the regional media and the regional authorities is that the former is absolutely subservient to the latter. However, there were not only predictable news reports and Dorenko-styled propaganda TV shows. Kurgan TV offered some real surprises to its audience, for example a show with an easy-remembered name "Two hedgehogs on the right". A clown-like young man with tousled hair "talked" to the candidates in quite a humorous way and also showed cuts from the candidates' public appearances mixed like: "Efremov!
: when the whole country is robbed and laid waste: Antoshkin: Your last savings will be taken from you: Bagretsov: You won't have anything to ease your head with the morning after.." etc. During the struggle for the public votes the headquarters of Bogomolov's political technologists invented amazing tricks. A crowd consisting of approximately 50 students appeared at a manifestation arranged by Bagretsov on the 7th of November. They carried carefully made flags and banners with slogans like "Bagretsov! We'll get through!", "Money don't smell", "Hands off the Ural" etc. - of course, in order to be shown on TV tonight with a comment like "You see, people like these vote for Bagretsov, against Bogomolov". I can say that Bogomolov's support team plays dirty, but they obviously have a good sense of humour. The head of the team was a journalist who lives in Sverdlovsk and Kurgan. He's highly valued by the political elite of the city. Well, that's a thing worth paying some attention !

"The Sverdlovsk political technologies school" has some special features. It's nearly as old as the Moscow one. When the history of political technologies in Russia is written, we'll be able to determine whether the main tricks of the "dirty" campaigns in Moscow, beginning with 1996, were actually first tried and exploited in the Urals and neighbouring regions. Anyway, this school exists and already possesses some traditions. Analysts consider its main distinctive feature its ultimate recklessness and the harshness of the technologies employed, the ability to "sink the enemy by any means". When it all only began, Bogomolov's main opponent was an Ekaterinburg citizen Anton Bakov, the founder of the "May" movement. This media oligarch and an utter rascal, very young, used to arrange actions of "labors' resistance", in particular, he laid siege on various offices together with the workers and forced the directors of the factories to sign documents on the spot, to pay wages etc. W!
hen Kirienko, at that time prime minister, came to Rossel, the workers belonging to Bakov's party approached Rossel residence on a thousand rafts in order to "shout the whole truth to Kirienko". However, we can't consider Bakov to be the actually supporting the workers' cause, for he had eventually turned to be the one to feed on the income of the largest Ekaterinburg machine-building plant - but he successfully let us know what media technologies actually were. Only by some strange coincidence he failed to run for governor of the region, but his companions and followers appeared in Kurgan.

When the leader of Bagretsov's headquarters Vadim Nevrov came to Kurgan, the local media wrote: "The Black Shaman has come to town". This man, a 27-year-old manager from the virtual office IPVA (The Institute for Political and Military Analysis) gave the name "Abzats" (The paragraph) to the pre-election paper, invented the leaflet titled "Nikolay Bagretsov. I shall demand success from all" and made his headquarters' stuff meditate upon the defeat of Bogomolov. In the beginning of the campaign he came to Bogomolov and said "Revoke your candidature or we'll crush you". Evil tongues used to say that he came to Bogomolov before that in order to offer his services as a political manager, and obviously he came for the same purpose to Efremov, but the latter lacked money. The six per cent of Bagretsov's advantage over Efremov belong to Vadim Nevrov's efforts, for which large sum of money had been paid beforehand. The newspaper "Absatz" was published under eloquent titles like "135 ye!
ars to the Yeast-production plant. The history of a factory, or How to establish one's business in four years", "Nikolay Bagretsov's red banners", "Bogomolov preparing a massacre". Its circulation consisted of so many copies that every third citizen of the region could get one, including peasants, whose wages make up 43 to 75 roubles a month; citizens of Almenevo and Dolmatovo regions who suffer from cancer because of the radioactive contamination in the meadow of river Techa; children who suffer from diabetes and for whom there is not enough insulin in local hospitals; unemployed who became such because of mass closing of factories and plants. The area under crops in the region had decreased three times during the seven years period, livestock and seeds were sold for debts in almost every collective farm, mortality exceeded the birth rate. The crops were only partially harvested. 

Two times a day the electricity is turned off, the coal stock will only last until the end of December, operations and medicaments in hospitals cost very much. Only the pre-elections agitation leaflets are distributed free-of-charge. During the last days before the end of the first tour of the elections Bogomolov's headquarters produced a "hundred rubles leaflet": the appeal to the voters was printed on a leaf of paper containing a color image of a 100-rubles banknote and ran as follows: the second tour of the elections will take 20 million rubles from the local budget (actually, it's nonsense, for the both tours cost no more than 5 millions), and that means a loss of 100 rubles for every citizen. And thus, the leaflet said, let us all vote for Bogomolov, in order to escape unwanted expenses. It upset the masses in many regions a lot - for example, the citizens of an outlying village Safakulevo distributed rumors saying that the in case Bogomolov won the elections the leaflet !
would be something like a voucher, and one could get 100 rubles in exchange for it in a local bank department. I wonder how many people have already visited bank departments with this leaflet. 


Translation: Alexey Kovalev

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