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United Russia Opponents Rally In Izhevsk

IZHEVSK, Russia -- Some 300 people have rallied against the policies of the ruling United Russia party in the western city of Izhevsk, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Speakers at the September 24 gathering criticized United Russia -- which has a majority in the Izhevsk city assembly -- for its stance on public housing, failing to conserve the city's historical heritage, and the party's plan to privatize the city's public transport.

They also called attention to the plight of new homebuyers who claim not to have received property they have purchased.

At the end of the meeting, Andrei Konoval, an opposition deputy in the Izhevsk assembly and leader of the regional branch of the opposition Patriots of Russia party, declared the removal of the city's current unelected mayor and city manager as its top priorities if elected.

Elections for the Izhevsk's municipal assembly are scheduled for October 10.

"Out with [Mayor Viktor] Balakin and [city manager Aleksandr] Ushakov!" Konoval told attendees at the rally. "[It's time for the] return of a mayor elected by the people's vote! It's time to put an end to this voracious two-headed system of government where no one knows who's responsible for what."

Izhevsk is one of several Russian cities in recent months that have abolished mayoral elections in favor of having the mayor and deputy mayor, or so-called city manager, appointed by the local ruling party, which in many cases is United Russia.