In anticipation of the next re-election of Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin throne in Russia started the process of mass Stripping of governors. The idea of the Kremlin, when in the spring of 2018, Russian citizens will elect a new-old President of the country, the Governor should not remain toxic political figures, able to pull down the rating of GDP.
Power feels the update request from the society. Feels and ruthlessly gets rid of those regional leaders who, in the opinion of the Federal center, “does not pull”. But it’s all facade. But his backhand: the principle of election of governors, with the return which began a third presidential term for Putin, by the end of this period, was almost buried.
“The power is this table, which no one voluntarily does not get”- said once a great Russian and Abkhaz writer Fazil Iskander. But where the principle of voluntarism is always possible to take advantage of this specific political invention of the Soviet era as “voluntary-compulsory order.”
The outgoing head of Dagestan Ramazan Abdulatipov: “I will be filing a statement of resignation. Most likely, today… the Reason for dismissal — the age to come, is 71 today. I think that such a reason because for all other matters, the Republic is on the rise. It is derived from the severe crisis in which it was”.
The outgoing head of the Krasnoyarsk territory Viktor Tolokonsky: “I’m leaving, and even leaving. I did not throw the begun business. Now there is regret that not all projects are implemented to the end. But I was always for the update”.
Nobody in the Russian political elite has no doubts that these two statements — as well as similar decisions Samara and Nizhny Novgorod Governor and those who will soon follow their example — are closely linked. But all officially pretending to believe in the Holy fiction: any instructions from the Kremlin was not, and some governors just suddenly Wake up one morning and suddenly realize that they need to change the scope of activities. It does not matter that these same governors “are confused in indications” – note the significant phrase abdulatipova “I think a reason”. The main thing is that minimum standards are met: none of the changes now its status governors will openly admit that in fact they are the most banal way fired.
Why I emphasize this seemingly minor issue as the ceremonial voluntary-forced the resignation of the governors? Because flashy “voluntary” departure of the Governor from office is a very important political function. It masks the fact that in terms of the relationship between the Federal center and regional leaders, we actually came back in 2004.
Remind chronology of events. After the terrible terrorist acts in Beslan, Putin announced the elimination of the principle of the popular election of governors and in fact acquires the right to appoint regional governors, in its sole discretion. This deals a final blow to the “provincial freemen”, so typical of Yeltsin’s Russia, but is not the best system of government. Of separate political leaders with their own base of support within their regions the governors are transformed into ordinary officials-appointees. In such a situation, it turns out that the number of minuses — the minuses first of all for the authorities that at the junction of Medvedev’s presidency and Putin’s third term, the Kremlin has officially returned to the principle of election of regional leaders.
However, the election is decided to place some limits on various insurance policy frameworks. Such caution is understandable. Russia is a country that is constantly balancing between the threat of disintegration and the threat of excessive centralization. The Kremlin in 2012 wanted to exclude the possibility that the popular vote in a particular region will come to power separatist-minded leader. But what in fact happened to fall 2017: safety nets suffocated the principle of election.
Imagine a card game in which your opponent has a special and exclusive right at any time to take additional cards from a special deck that says “cards”. Do you have a chance to win? If there is, then only theoretical — if your opponent is really “stop to catch mice” and make a series of blunders. With the chances of unwanted Federal center candidates win the gubernatorial election, the situation is very similar. Victory nedremliuschee candidate Sergei Levchenko on elections of the head of Irkutsk in 2015, is the exception that proves the rule.
Permanent use of the Federal centre of his “reserve powers” as the right to appoint acting governors in the long term fundamentally change the essence of elections of heads of regions. Now it’s not so much elections, as a mini-referendum on confidence in the President in the face of his specific representative. De facto we have returned to the practice of appointment of heads of regions from the centre. Of course, this order is fully consistent with our political traditions. So it was with the kings, was the General Secretary. But whether political traditions deserve unquestioning compliance? Both Imperial, and Soviet political systems, as we know, disintegrated in a moment of crisis. Not do we create a new political system, laying in her old defects?
Today we have the silent but a constant accumulation of discontent in the regions. Speaking recently to the State Council of Tatarstan, the President of the Republic Rustam Minnikhanov spoke about the “slippery point” – the refusal of Moscow to extend the contract on distribution of powers with the Republic: “About a quarter of a century our relations with the Federal center was determined by the treaties on the delimitation of powers, which played a crucial historical role, contributed to the strengthening of statehood and improvement of the Russian federalism… In the present circumstances the leading factor is not so much the form of the Republic and the Federal center as their content, the ability to find mutually acceptable solutions to emerging issues in the common interest”.
Sounds like complete capitulation of the political elite of Tatarstan to Moscow. But the question is: how politicians speak in Kazan, if after a certain number of years, the Federal center suddenly weakened? Not putting on we now a spring of discontent which sooner or later will be straightened with not very good consequences for the country? Of course, I understand that the questions in the style of “what if?” is fun but not necessarily productive. In politics there is no hard determinism: events may develop in hundreds of different scenarios.
But what I frankly alarming: the current system of the real relations between the Federal center and the regions is built not so much on political as on administrative arrangements. The difference between policy and administration is not always noticeable to the untrained eye, but very significant. When politics is replaced by administration, it reduces the degree of stability of the state system, makes this system more vulnerable. I have no magic solution to all urgent and overripe problems of Russian federalism. However, I have a strong feeling on the level of instincts: in the area of relations between Federal center and regions all developed not quite in the right direction.