Sergey Subbotin, deputy governor of Murmansk Oblast, stood for election against the incumbent mayor of Murmansk, Mikhail Savchenko. So far, so normal. Except that this time Subbotin was not a member of United Russia, the party of power headed by prime minister Vladimir Putin.
This sort of embarrassment was exactly what Putin had hoped to stamp out when he replaced gubernatorial elections with presidential appointments: while mayors would still be popularly elected, it was understood that only party members would be elected.
Unfortunately for himself, governor Yevdokimov, himself a member of United Russia, seemed only to have got that memo yesterday; before then, he had forcefully tested political “etiquette” by firmly backing his non-party deputy against his fellow party member Savchenko.