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Sunday, February 18, 2018

September 10 will be the most “peaceful” elections of governors

10 September 2017 gubernatorial elections will be held in 16 Russian regions. And almost anywhere there is intrigue – must win the current acting head of the region. How is it that when Sergei Kiriyenko, who was considered a major liberal in the presidential Administration, the democratic procedure turned into a purely technical act?

photo: Natalia Muslinkina

Alas, it seems that the elections in Russia, in principle, lost its popularity as a means of struggle for power. Yes, and the government itself ceased to interest many of those who so passionately fought for it. It is, above all, those who see positions of power as a tool of profit. Today, investment in the office of the Governor, and especially the Deputy of the state Duma – is unprofitable. How to return the attachments in the campaign? If there are any specific lobbying interests, then any high governmental posts in our time can only become a burden. The status of the MP no longer gives immunity, and the office of the Governor monopoly on regional business. Example – the Governor of the Irkutsk region Sergey Levchenko, who elected to protest the region implements the Federal program and programs of the Federal government, and much more successful than its predecessor of the “United Russia”. The secret is simple, in the current situation the same, however not to the political struggle. He’s kind of a technocrat who must implement the presidential programme, but the demand from him is higher than with the Pro-Kremlin ladogeneratory.

Some of those who are to be elected this year on a post of the head of the region, and not adapted to real political life. However, both the President and the governors have to go through this ritual, call it “acceptance”. Its essence is simple: you need to prove its mettle, to drive his programme through the prism of criticism of the opposition, to gather a considerable group support. Yes, to hold an election without a clear choice – a difficult task, however, the ritual itself is designed to solve many of accumulated social problems.

Take, for example, the Republic of Buryatia. There, acting Governor Alexey Tsydenov refused to fight with his main rival Communist by Vyacheslav Marhaeva. The promoted worker from the Communist party have been removed with the passage of the municipal filter, i.e., the candidate did not take the fight not only against a strong opponent, but from behind him part of the elite. Than it can be fraught? First, next year in Buryatia Republic, elections to people’s Hural and the Communists can seriously increase its presence in the local Parliament. Because now they are not only offended the local elite, but also offended the voters, which is the Communist party tried to shove the fake party “Communists of Russia”.

The situation is similar in other regions with weak leaders. In the same Sverdlovsk region acting Governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev went on all the tricks for cleansing the political field and, most likely, next year will get response to their actions. In the same elections to the city Duma of Ekaterinburg. The head of the Republic of Karelia, Artur Parfenchikov also tried to negotiate with all political actors, from the nominated candidates (some of which starred in its benefit) to real people like Irina Petlevoy from “Fair Russia”. Yeah, tricky game will allow him to win the election, but as a weak Governor intends in the future to deal with the political opposition Karelia? There are rumors that Parfenchikov is one of the candidates for the post of Prosecutor General of Russia, but is he ready to take on this position if you do not cope with the problems on the ground?

Similar problems have other governors, whose current positions are seen as career springboards. Speech of the acting Governor of the Perm edge Maxim Reshetnikovo and the acting head of Udmurtia Alexander Brechalov. Their main task – to prove themselves in the solution of existing problems, to become “distributing” among the local elite, which in both regions is compromised. But whether it is to make the governors whose elections were held according to the standard scheme of “dry appearance” and the stripped fields? The same MP was elected in Perm, in agreement with the main local opposition activist Dmitry Skrivanova. If he can then behave regardless of the agreements with this third force? The same Governor of the Yaroslavl region Dmitry Mironov as a candidate in General with a positive rating, assumes a certain load, in agreement with the local elites, the current city government of Yaroslavl headed by the mayor Sleptsov. I.e. all errors Sleptsova will now be projected on the incumbent Governor who conquers only in agreement with the opponents of the “Fair Russia” Anatoly Grechishnikova, who refused from participation in elections. As, incidentally, in Mari El Republic, where the Communist party does not put up its candidate against the “United Russia party” Alexander Evstifeeva, so that he accidentally won the inexperienced acting Governor. For this the candidate Communist Sergey Mamayev allowed to fight in the Kirov region, Igor Vasiliev, so that the USSR can be attributed to one of the most competitive regions of Russia.

Some better things from those heads of regions that have structured their own electoral campaign. In the same Sevastopol Dmitry Ovsyannikov started a very hard campaign, which could well lose. But in the course of a adjusted their positions, thus trying to justify their position in front of the local population. Considering the protest, the status of Sevastopol, to achieve this was not easy. As, however, the young Governor of the Kaliningrad region Anton Alikhanov and Novgorod region Andrei Nikitin, who was able to extract from his youth a certain profit. More precisely, they formulated some ideas that fit well into existing concepts of development and can be implemented in collaboration with the existing elite groups. I.e., the voltage of the elites was taken due to their involvement in electoral processes at the stage of the campaign. These include more experienced Governor’s “second term,” Sergei Zhvachkin (Tomsk oblast), which, despite the quiet campaign, has managed to solve the main issues at the elite level and is now preparing to win the election in a peaceful struggle.

Most stable current governors – Mordovia (Vladimir Volkov), Belgorod region (Yevgeny Savchenko) and Saratov (Valery Radayev). They all should go according to the standard scenario – medium to high voter turnout (35-45%) and high percentage of votes for the main candidate. The same Savchenko may well get a result close to 80-90%. The second can become wolves (70-80%), and the third Radaev (60-70%). However, these impressive results do not remove the issue of competition within local elites. For example, who will act as successor Savchenko in the upcoming elections? Or who can match Volkov of Mordovia in the case of the departure of his chief lobbyist Merkushkin as Governor of the Samara region?

As we can see, the upcoming election raise more questions than answers. And chief among them, what will election without a choice? Sharpen whether turf squabbling of local elites? – no doubt. Will find out if such things exit in the coming campaigns at municipal and regional levels? – of course. Perhaps even presidential – indeed, many local forces want to spoil the credibility of the newly elected governors that will help to reduce the results of the upcoming presidential campaign. It was under the brand of Putin are elected by young and little-known technocrats, which will be the objects of attack local elites in the coming years. Such a “peaceful confrontation” Federal and local groups could lead to the revival of a third force – the Russian federalism, the need for which in recent years says more and more experts.


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