MOSCOW — Scoring stunning ballot box victories over Communist Party apparatchiks, radicals seized control of city halls in the Soviet Union's two biggest cities, Moscow and Leningrad, securing power bases to push their agenda of faster reform, according to election results in the Russian Federation issued Monday.
Radicals also claimed victory in Kiev, the nation's third-largest city, where they accused Communist bosses in the capital of the Ukrainian republic of massive electoral fraud.
"The party, this plague of the 20th Century, resorted to acts of banditry at the polls and secured for itself many seats that by right belonged to us," charged Victor Linchevsky, chief of the information office of the Ukrainian nationalist group Rukh.
In Byelorussia, the third republic of the Soviet Slavic heartland to vote in local and legislative elections this weekend, both the mayor of the capital, Minsk, and the city's Communist Party leader were defeated, the government daily newspaper Izvestia reported.
The triumph of Russian radicals in Sunday's local and republic-wide parliamentary runoffs and earlier elections on March 4 puts them for the first time in direct charge of the lives and well-being of millions of their countrymen. It heralds an opposition role for the Communist Party leaderships of the nation's capital and the city where the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917.
"The party had seven decades to show what it could do, and now it's time for a change," declared a jubilant Ilya V. Konstantinov, a Leningrad utility plant worker and non-Communist who beat out a city party secretary to win a seat in the new Parliament of the Russian Federation, also referred to as the Russian Republic.
In Moscow, home to more than 9 million people, 281 candidates backed by the progressive Democratic Russia alliance won seats on the 498-member city council, where they now hold a majority, according to a report from the Interfax news agency of official Radio Moscow.
However, Moscow's Communist Party chief, Yuri Prokofiev, also won a seat, as did Mayor Valery Saikin, said by one Soviet newspaper to have been so desperate to gain reelection that he ordered the crash construction of parking lots in the district where he was running. In haste, workers reportedly paved over the snow.
The pro-democracy alliance fared even better in Moscow in balloting for the Russian Federation's new Parliament, the Russian Congress of People's Deputies: It won 55 of the 65 seats alloted to the Soviet capital, Interfax reported.
In Leningrad, radicals took 229 of the 400 seats on the city council, according to the independent Northwest Information Agency. Editor Elena Zelinskaya said Communist Party officials in the country's second-largest city did score some victories but mostly in "closed" electoral districts such as army bases, where campaigning was not allowed.
Tass, the official Soviet news agency, said the mayor of the city of more than 4.3 million people, Vladimir Khodyrev, had been reelected to the Leningrad council but that about 60% of the winners ran under the Democratic Elections-90 banner, an umbrella group. It comprises more than 40 organizations including the grass-roots Leningrad People's Front, a society devoted to honoring the victims of dictator Josef Stalin; Social Democrats, and survivors of the Nazi blockade in World War II.
"The election results show the distrust of the people in the party and its apparatus," Konstantinov, the Leningrad utility worker and new deputy in the Russian Republic's Parliament, said in a telephone interview.
He predicted that the new Russian Parliament and city councils would push for a more radical political agenda than that endorsed so far by President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, including the right to freely buy and sell land, unlimited ownership of private property and rapid implementation of multi-party democracy.
Elsewhere in the continent-sized Russian Republic, election results were still being compiled or had not yet been forwarded to Moscow. Alexander A. Sobyanin, who helped to tabulate unofficial returns at the House of Scientists, said 10 large cities in Russia, including Sverdlovsk, Omsk and Volgograd, appeared on the way to gaining administrations dominated by the Democratic Russia alliance.
"This is a great defeat for the apparatus," said Sobyanin, a physicist and former colleague of the late human rights activist Andrei D. Sakharov. "I think the power of the \o7 gorkoms \f7 (city Communist Party committees) will now be completely insignificant."
Progressive deputies, however, seemed less certain of that eclipse. More than 70 newly elected members of Moscow's city council gathered in a dusty auditorium of Moscow State University's journalism school Monday night to hear news of the returns and plan what they would do with the posts they have won.