MOSCOW, September 9 (RIA Novosti) – A controversial anti-drug crusader and opposition candidate has declared victory in the mayoral election in Russia’s fourth-largest city Yekaterinburg, in a rare upset for the ruling United Russia party.
With 100 percent of the ballots counted, Yekaterinburg’s election committee released results Monday morning showing Yevgeny Roizman with 33.25 percent of votes over his main opponent, United Russia’s Yakov Silin, with 29.77 percent.
“According to information from the city election commission, we’re winning.” Roizman wrote on his LiveJournal blog just after 2 a.m. on Monday morning.
“Thank you, Yekaterinburg!” he added an hour later.
Roizman – a 50-year-old former Duma deputy and anti-drug campaigner – represented Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s Civil Platform party against eleven other candidates, including United Russia’s Yakov Silin.
He has made news in recent years for his work as the founder of a 14-year-old anti-narcotics organization called City Without Drugs, which has been in the headlines for its high success rates in cleaning up addicts. The movement has also been accused of mistreating addicts in its withdrawal program by Russian media reports, but Roizman and the organization claim the reports were part of a smear campaign by political rivals.
Updated with corrections to quotes and added background information