Communist Party proposes to hold referendum to recall head of Khakassia 

Communist Party proposes to hold referendum to recall head of Khakassia

The high-profile corruption scandal surrounding the criminal case against Head of Zimin’s administration Vladimir Byzov and 8 more officials of the republic government has severely rocked the position of the Khakassia head.

The election commission of Khakassia has registered an initiative group on holding a referendum to recall Head of the republic Viktor Zimin. As Kommersant reports, the republic’s branch of the Communist Party has acted as the initiator of holding the referendum.

The initiative group includes 25 regional representatives of the Communist Party. According to First Secretary of the Communist Party of Khakassia Nikolay Bozykov, it is planned to bring the following three matters to the referendum: ‘Do you trust the head of the Republic of Khakassia?’, ‘Do you approve of the socio-economic policy pursued by the head of Khakassia?’ and ‘Do you think that the head of Khakassia should be held accountable for the socio-economic situation in the republic?’

The publication notes that the appeal has already been referred to the republic’s office of the Supreme Council. The decision on it will be adopted within three weeks after the verification for compliance with the law.

It is noteworthy that the regional branch of the Communist Party has a long standing rivalry with Viktor Zimin. In 2016, communists of Khakassia collected 15.5 thousand signatures in favor of Zimin’s resignation, and in January 2017, they wrote an open letter to Putin asking him to replace the head of the republic. According to the regional leadership of the Communist Party, the period of Zimin's administration became a failure of personnel and budget policy of the region, and the corruption is rife in the government entities where Zimin had appointed his nominees.

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The recent criminal case against Head of Zimin’s administration Vladimir Byzov clearly illustrates the corruption of republican authorities at the highest level. According to the investigation, Byzov headed a crime group, which used to extort kickbacks from businessmen for won auctions for the supply of medical equipment and medicines in the healthcare system of the republic. The investigators believe that the payments to officials made up to 20% of the amount of each contract concluded. 

Let us recall that, as previously reported by the CrimeRussia, already nine officials from Zimin’s immediate environment are currently under investigation. The case of Byzov expands as other high-ranking defendants are added to it, making it one of the most high-profile corruption scandals of recent years in Russia. 

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Vladimir Byzov and Viktor Zimin

After the scandal, Zimin dismissed the entire government of Khakassia, explaining this by the “low efficiency of its work.” However, the Communist Party representatives do not consider the resignation of the government a solution of the issue, so they initiate a referendum to change the situation. At the same time, the head of the Khakass communists does not believe in the possibility of holding it, since 34 out of 50 deputies of the Khakass are members of the United Russia, just like Zimin. According to Bozykov, they will not vote in favor of the referendum to recall Zimin. Representative of the Liberal Democratic Party Valery Starostin also considers this unlikely. There is only one year left before the elections, and the referendum is a costly measure that will cost the republic at least 20 million rubles (350 thousand dollars). According to Political Scientist Igor Saskov, the presidential administration will not allow to hold a referendum on trust to the republic head on the eve of the presidential elections, noting that Vladimir Putin expressed his support for Zimin during their last meeting.

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