The people of the Russian Black sea resort of Sochi vote for a new mayor today in what has been described as a dirty campaign by government critics.The city is due to host the 2014 Winter Olympics and whoever wins the election will hold sway over a budget worth 4.5 billion euros. Analyst Nikolay Petrov said: “It’s very important for Mr. Putin, for whom Sochi’s Olympics is his brain child and this is the project which is controlled by him personally, it’s very important for him to be sure that he’s guaranteed from any kind of opposition.” The Kremlin backed incumbent, Anatoly Pakhomov has been accused by opposition candidates of exerting pressure on state workers, of dominating the local news and banning all political posters and paid-for television campaign ads. Despite presidential pledges to strengthen Russian democracy, critics claim that with the town being closely linked with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the outcome is a foregone conclusion.
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