MOSCOW – The mayor of Russia's fourth-largest city cuts an odd figure in the country since most governors and mayors are either Kremlin nominees or hail from Kremlin-friendly parties.
Yekaterinburg mayor Yevgeny Roizman, on the other hand, openly criticizes President Vladimir Putin. He has also called for a boycott of Sunday's presidential vote, a move advocated by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is banned from running.
Yet Roizman still epitomizes the helplessness of Russia's opposition in the face of Putin's well-oiled government machine.
Roizman is an outlier in Putin's system of government, where every official explicitly answers to and serves the Russian president.
While millions of public workers are busy rooting for Putin and urging residents to vote, Roizman has dismissed the presidential vote as sham.