Jewish ex-con defeats Putin’s man in local mayoral race
(JTA) — A Jewish anti-drugs campaigner defeated the party of Russian President Vladimir Putin with his election to mayor of Russia’s fourth-largest city. Yevgeny Roizman, 50, beat the ruling United Russia Party candidate in a mayoral election last week in Yekaterinburg, a city of 1.4 million people in the industrial belt of the Ural Mountains which is a venue for the 2018 World Cup soccer finals.
United Russia won the vast majority of the 7,000 local elections held across the country on Sept. 9, Reuters reported.
Roizman won 33.3 percent of the vote, compared to 29.7 percent garnered by Yakov Silin, the candidate for United Russia and deputy governor of the region.
Yekaterinburg’s new mayor began his involvement in social causes after his release from prison, where a judge sent him during the Soviet era for robbery, extortion and weapons charges that later were voided, according to Reuters.
More than a decade ago Roizman founded City Without Drugs, whose vigilante-style raids on alleged peddlers and tough-love rehabilitation centers for addicts turned him into a local celebrity but also drew criminal investigations.
A member of parliament from 2003 to 2007, Roizman led a grassroots mayoral campaign that relied heavily on social media.