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Russian opposition candidate wins mayoral vote

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April 2, 2012, 5:31 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Associated Press

An anti-corruption crusader has won a landslide victory in a mayoral election in a major Russian city, dealing a painful blow to the main Kremlin party.
© AP

MOSCOW — An anti-corruption crusader has won a landslide victory in a mayoral election in a major Russian city, dealing a painful blow to the main Kremlin party and energizing the beleaguered opposition. Yevgeny Urlashov won 70 percent of the vote in Yaroslavl, in western Russia, easily defeating the acting mayor, who was the candidate of Vladimir Putin's United Russia party.

Urlashov's victory, confirmed Monday, reflects growing public irritation with official corruption and social inequality. And it gives new hope to Russia's opposition, which has struggled to maintain momentum after Putin won a third presidential term last month.

Opposition leaders have urged their supporters to focus on local elections, and Urlashov's victory in Sunday's poll will likely embolden Russia's new civic activists.
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