The 28 Offices of Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov

pakhomov042409.jpgSome of the most entertaining news coming out of Russia these days has to do with the mayoral election in Sochi – a job which could land one lucky competitor the task of doling out billions of dollars in preparation for the Winter Olympics.  Without a hint of irony, President Dmitry Medvedev has called the campaign a “genuine political battle” that will enrich Russian democracy … you can’t make this stuff up.

Needless to say, the country’s most impressive corruption entrepreneurs have turned out to try to seize the post, but those placing their bets on the wanted murderer of Alexander Litvinenko, may be disappointed to see he’s been chucked out.  And now it seems that opposition leader Boris Nemtsov’s already slim chances are getting slimmer, as the United Russia candidate and incumbent Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov is completely dominating the airwaves with Putin-esque aplomb … from at least 28 made-for-tv offices.  Somewhere in there is a reminder of that Joe Biden quip of McCain’s difficult task of relating with common Americans from his seven different kitchen tables.

“He has used his office to campaign,” said Alexander Glushenkov, a lawyer representing Nemtsov at a court hearing of his complaint this week.

Pakhomov’s lawyer Oleg Naukin denied any wrongdoing in court, saying the mayor had used a public reception office decorated to look like his office in the Russia Today interview.

When asked by Glushenkov to provide the address of the public reception office, Pakhomov’s lawyer said there were 28 such offices organized by Pakhomov’s campaign around the city, and he did not know which one had been used for the interview.

Asked why Russia Today editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan, whoconducted the interview, made on-camera comments afterward in the lobbyof the City Hall building, Naukin advised to put the question to RussiaToday.

A spokesman for Russia Today, speaking on customary condition ofanonymity, told The Moscow Times on Thursday that the meeting betweenPakhomov and Simonyan was “private” and “had nothing to do with theelection campaign.”