After three years on the sidelines of Russian politics, Boris Yeltsin's rebellious ex-vice president has won a provincial governor's seat in a landslide.
Alexander Rutskoi - who led a failed 1993 uprising against Yeltsin - got 78.9 percent of Sunday's vote in the Kursk region, some 285 miles south of Moscow. Incumbent Vasily Shuteyev - a Yeltsin appointee - received a paltry 17.9 percent, and two other contestants finished with less than 1 percent each, election officials said.Local elections taking place across Russia this fall are especially important because the governors make up the upper house of parliament. Until now, they have been mainly Yeltsin appointees, and have usually complied with the president's policies.
Now, however, the governors must be popularly elected. Rutskoi, whose previous efforts to form a political movement failed to catch fire, is among the most prominent Yeltsin foes to win regional office.
He was cleared for the race only Wednesday by the Supreme Court, which overturned a ruling by the regional electoral commission that Rutskoi failed to meet residency requirements.
Rutskoi opposed many of Yeltsin's free-market reforms and joined the hard-line parliamentary opposition. When Yeltsin disbanded parliament in September 1993, Rutskoi led the unsuccessful armed resistance.
He was jailed for several months after that pending trial. The next parliament gave him amnesty.