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Activists In Russian Town Seek Mayor's Dismissal


SHAKHTY, Russia -- Activists in the southwestern Russian city of Shakhty have begun a campaign aimed at removing Mayor Sergei Ponomarenko, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Campaign activists allege that Ponomarenko is personally responsible for increasing social problems in the city including its high crime rate.

They also say Ponomarenko used his administrative resources to rig the mayoral elections held in March.

Organizers of the campaign have set up special mobile booths that drive around the town allowing people to read an open letter to President Dmitry Medvedev and regional leaders demanding that Ponomarenko resign or be removed, and allowing people to sign a petition.

Shakhty is an industrial center of the eastern Donbass region, near Ukraine. It has a population of some 220,000 people.

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