He used to stand with Vladimir Putin. But on Sunday, anti-corruption crusader Yevgeny Urlashov won a landslide victory against Putin’s party, to become the next mayor of Yarslavl, a city of just under 600,000 some 155 miles east of Moscow.
Taking more than 70 percent of the vote, Urlashov defeated the acting mayor, a candidate of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, in what was seen as a blow to Putin and his political allies.
Urlashov, a 45-year old lawyer, has promised to fight graft by providing better oversight of the city’sspending. His victory is seen as providing hope to Russia’s opposition following the election of Putin to a third term in office.
It wasn’t an easy campaign. Local television provided only positive coverage of his rival and local police raided Urlashov’s campaign headquarters.
What does Urlashov have to say about his election upset? The “People of Yaroslavl have grown tired of corruption and nepotism,” the victor told a local radio station. “They want changes.”
Corruption and Louisiana. The words seem to fit together, perhaps a little too neatly.
A New Orleans-based corruption watchdog organization wants to set up shop in Baton Rouge, the state capital, as well. It would be the second attempt by this group to open a Baton Rouge branch – the first effort got derailed when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.
Now, the Metropolitan Crime Commission, headed by Rafael Goyeneche III, is trying to line up support among businessmen in the capital using the argument that public officials might be coming after them for bribes and other back-room deals.
The Commission has been fighting crime since 1952 by investigating tips from the public. Some of its investigations have lead to the arrest of high-level Louisiana politicians. Goyeneche said he’d like to start the Baton Rouge effort by examining the criminal justice system.
There is one person who would welcome the Commission’s presence, the local district attorney. Hillar Moore, the prosecutor who represents East Baton Rouge, said: “We would welcome any help he (Goyeneche) can give us.”
In Uganda, General Elly Tumwine has worn many hats: former army commander, chairman of the military high command, senior presidential advisor and painter, musician and sculptor. Now he’s putting on yet another hat — .anti-corruption crusader.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Sunday Monitor in Uganda, General Tumwine expanded on his views.
Here are a few highlights:
- There is greater freedom now in Uganda to talk about corruption and more ways to expose it – before there was not radio, mobile phones or independent media;
- The Government is overly focused on dealing with what has gone wrong and not focused enough on preventing corruption in the first place;
- With greater freedom, has come a greater temptation for corruption;
- A rising economy brings greater availability of things to steel;
- With impunity comes a culture that even glorifies corruption;
- Those in power may be in the worst position to root out corruption. Instead, the anti-corruption effort may have to spring from ordinary citizens.
In other words, according to Gen. Tumwine; ” You cannot expect those who are at the table and being tempted by the puddings and the sweet things to be the ones to say take away the food. It must be the hungry, those who need that food.´”