Yevgeny Roizman, a close ally of billionaire politician Mikhail Prokhorov and head of the Yekaterinburg-based City Without Drugs foundation, has announced that he will run for mayor of Yekaterinburg in a Sept. 8 vote.
He said Friday that he had long hesitated when faced with the opportunity to run in the election but that now he was ready to “give the city five years of my life,” Interfax reported.
With his foundation the target of criticism and investigations over its controversial methods in treating drug abuse, Roizman also vowed to resist what he says is pressure by authorities.
“People close to me are on trial or wanted by the authorities. They are openly trying to eliminate the foundation, to destroy us. We should show that we are to be reckoned with, that it is our city,” Roizman told news website Znak.
Roizman said that if elected mayor he would focus on keeping utility rates under control, providing more slots for children at day care centers, reducing the cost of public transportation and improving city roads.
He also said Prokhorov had given him “12 million” for the election campaign, by which he presumably meant 12 million rubles ($370,500), and that the billionaire had promised to give him “as much as necessary.” But Sunday, Roizman told journalists that he would not ask Prokhorov for money and take funds from legal entities only, Interfax reported.
Roizman will be running as a candidate from Prokhorov’s Civil Platform party.
A State Duma deputy from 2003 to 2007, Roizman has been best known in recent years for his work as head of the City Without Drugs foundation. In that role, he has been the subject of both praise for the group’s work in helping drug addicts kick their habits and harsh criticism for some of its techniques, which have included handcuffing patients.