Facing wave of change, Solovki elects new municipal mayor

After a long period of political turmoil, the picturesque archipelago of Solovki has elected a new local mayor. Photo: Thomas Nilsen/BarentsObserver

While the United Russia party took a sweeping victory practically all over Russia in Sunday’s regional elections, the party might have been dealt a blow at the northern archipelago of Solovki.


The vote on the island was won by Yelena Ambroche, the current deputy mayor of the settlement, with 40,69 percent of the votes. Former municipal mayor, Aleksei Yefipov, got 37,54 percent of the votes, while the United Russia’s official candidate, Yevgeny Tyutyukov, got only 2,58 percent, Regnum reports.

The voter turnout was 52,48 percent, far higher than the regional average of 29,2 percent

Results for all of Arkhangelsk Oblast show that United Russia won 72 of the 158 regional mayoral posts up for elections, while the A Just Russia party won five, the Liberal Democratic Party – 2 and the Communist Party – 1. The remaining mayoral posts were won by independent candidates.

The vote at Solovki was the third in less than 18 months. As previously reported, the vote scheduled for May 13 was cancelled following the resignation of several Election Commission members. Critics say the cancelled elections were politically motivated and orchestrated by powerful interests associated with the regional authorities.

Although not representing the United Russia party, election winner Yelena Ambroche can hardly be said to be a part of the political opposition. Coming from the post as deputy mayor, Ambroche is a close associate of the controversial acting mayor Denis Tarasov, and is likely to continue the course of the current administration.

The elections at Solovki were held as the archipelago stands on the threshold of a wave of changes initiated partly by the Russian Orthodox Chuch, partly by federal and regional authorities. In a recent meeting in Moscow, the Kremlin commissioned the federal Ministry of Regional Development with the development of a special federal programme for the region and the regional administration of Governor Igor Orlov with the drafting of an agreement between the long-time conflicting local monastery, museum and the municipal authorities. The meeting which took place on 11 October was lead by Sergei Ivanov, Head of the presidential administration. Present were also Patriarch Kirill, Governor Orlov and a number of high-ranking federal officials, reports.