ST. PETERSBURG, August 2 (Itar-Tass) — The Election Commission of St. Petersburg has not found any irregularities as it checked the election campaign in the municipal districts Petrovsky and Krasnenkaya Rechka through which St. Petersburg governor Valentina Matviyenko will stand for election, deputy head of the City Election Commission Dmitry Krasnyansky said on Tuesday.
“The Election Commission has absolutely no claims to these elections,” he said. According to him, “the inspection has found that the decisions to hold elections in the municipal districts were published, which is ‘the sole and sufficient’ ground for them. The relevant publication took place in the official newspapers of the two municipalities.” “The Election Commission has no questions to these publications,” Krasnyansky stressed, noting that explanations have been received in connection with the delay with the election information coming to the City Election Commission – municipal election commissions’ members were on vacation.
On Sunday, July 31, St. Petersburg governor Valentina Matviyenko officially declared that on August 21 she would stand for election through the Petrovsky and Krasnenkaya Rechka municipal councils. She emphasised that all the procedures for the declaration of elections in these municipal councils were held in accordance with the law. “These districts were named in the press, like others,” the governor noted.
If elected to the city council, Matviyenko will be able to be delegated to the Federation Council upper house of parliament, whose members have pledged to elect her speaker.
Earlier, the most likely districts where Valentina Matviyenko would stand for election were considered to be the Alexandrovskoye and Lomonosovskoye municipalities. Since the beginning of the election campaign many opposition members have registered as candidates in municipal elections. Registration of candidates for elections to the Petrosvky and Krasnenkaya Rechka municipal councils ended last Wednesday, July 27.
Valentina Ivanovna Matviyenko (Tyutina), born 7 April 1949, is a member of United Russia party. She has been the governor of Saint Petersburg since she was elected in 2003. Valentina Tyutina was born in Shepetovka in the Khmelnitsky Oblast of Western Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union. In 1972 she graduated from Leningrad Institute of Chemistry and Pharmaceutics, where she met her husband, Vladimir Vasilyevich Matviyenko. She held various leadership positions within the Komsomol organisation until 1984.
In 1985 she graduated from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s Academy and became a party official in Leningrad’s municipal government. In 1984 – 1986 she was the First Secretary of the Krasnogvardeisky District Committee of the Party.
Matviyenko was elected as a people’s deputy to the Supreme Soviet and headed the committee on women, family and children affairs. Between 1991 and 1998 Matviyenko served in the diplomatic service and held several diplomatic positions including posts of Russian ambassador to Malta (1991-1995) and Greece (1997-1998). On September 24, 1998, Matviyenko was appointed Deputy Prime Minister of Russia for Welfare and occupied this position until 2003.
In June 1999 she worked on the Board of Directors of the ORT TV channel.
On November 20, 1999, she was involved in a life-threatening car accident.
On February 3, 2000 she was nominated for the presidency, but refused to contest. On February 29, 2000, she announced that she was considering running in the St. Petersburg governor elections to be held on May 14, and on March 10 announced that she was indeed launching her campaign. However, on April 4 she claimed that Vladimir Putin had asked her to withdraw from the elections, and did so on April 5. On March 11, 2003 she left the Deputy PM position and was appointed presidential envoy to the Northwestern Federal District by Vladimir Putin.
She pledged her support for the controversial idea of transferring some part of the capital’s functions from Moscow to Saint Petersburg. She also supported the construction project of the Gazprom City business centre including a 300 metre skyscraper holding the headquarters of some of Gazprom’s subsidiaries on the right bank of the Neva River in front of the historic Smolny Cathedral, despite current regulations forbidding construction buildings of more than 42 metres.
In 2005 a new Russian federal law came into force whereby governors are proposed by the President of Russia and approved or disapproved by regional legislative assemblies rather than elected by direct popular vote. On December 6, 2006, one year before her term as elected governor would expire, Matviyenko asked Vladimir Putin to nominate her for approval according to the new legislation, and he agreed. She was approved by the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly on December 22, 2006.
On March 3, 2007, scores of participants of the Dissenters’ March demonstrated in the city’s main avenue, Nevsky Prospekt, calling for Matviyenko’s dismissal. She in turn accused them of stirring up trouble ahead of elections to the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly scheduled for March 11, of criticising the city’s perceived dynamic development and for allegedly receiving financial support from dubious sources. On April 15, 2007, the Dissenters’ March took place in St. Petersburg for the second time.