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Island residents in Dagestan voting in presidential elections ahead of time

MAKHACHKALA, Feb. 26 — Residents of the Dagestan island of Chechen in the Caspian and of two hardly accessible villages in the mountainous Rutul district — Mukhakh and Kusur — vote on Sunday ahead of time in the Russian presidential elections, Itar-Tass learned from deputy chairman of the Republican Election Commission Bagautdin Gusayev.

According to the deputy chairman, “all in all, lists for ahead-of-time voting contain data on 220 electors; out of the total, 104 people live permanently on the island of Chechen which is territorially listed in the Kirov district of Makhachkala.”

Ballot papers were brought by military helicopter on Saturday for voters living on the island. Numerous ice-floes blocked water traffic with the mainland during the present rigorous winter. Aged people live mostly on the island; they worked at a fishing collective society in the past.

The villages of Mukhakh and Kusur, where Tsakhurs and Avars live, are the southernmost points in the Russian territory. They are located at an altitude of 2,000 meters above sea level on the border with Azerbaijan. The villages are situated 80 kilometers from the district center of Rutul; there are no highways there and no telephone communication.

It is necessary to negotiate 25 kilometers on foot to the nearest highway, and on horseback between May and October. Members of the territorial election commission, accompanied by local hunters, went to the villages back in the middle of the week. These villagers usually need three-four days to reach the district center at this time of the year.

Apart from voting at the presidential elections, villagers will also nominate their candidates to the district legislative assembly.

The presidential elections will be held at 1,900 polling stations in the Dagestan Republic on March 4. The Dagestan Election Commission told Itar-Tass that webcams connected with Internet are installed at 600 polling stations. “They are located mostly in cities and district centers,” the commission noted. (PNA/RIA Novosti) scs/rsm

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