Kremlin: no “behind-the-scenes processes” in governors’ resignations
The Kremlin has called the resignations of governors in several regions of Russia a usual shake-up, in which it would be irrelevant to search for "some behind-the-scenes processes".
The Kremlin reported that a series of resignations of regional governors is a normal restructuring. Press Secretary for the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov claimed that looking for "behind-the-scenes processes" in this matter is out of place.
Peskov noted that the governors’ resignations were "self-initiated". "All of them headed their regions for more than 1 and even 5 years. All of them kept and are keeping a constant liaison with the president, and the president has repeatedly met with them and expounded greatly about the results of their work many times", – the spokesperson of the Kremlin said (cited by Interfax).
The Press Secretary highlighted that he did not consider it appropriate to "look for some behind-the-scenes processes". He added that a rotary process has "some electoral calendars and, of course, everyone conforms to this calendar at their own discretion". When asked about the presidential elections in 2018, Peskov reiterated that the Kremlin has no campaign "electoral calendar".
Earlier on February 14 Oleg Kovalev, the Governor of Ryazan Region, announced early resignation. He informed about his decision at a meeting of the regional Government, adding that he would not run for governor elections in September 2017. Kovalev held this post since 2008. Dozhd TV Channel previously reported about possible resignation of the Ryazan governor referring to sources in the Kremlin. According to the source, a potential new Head of the region may be State Duma Deputy Nikolay Lyubimov.
Since early February a few more heads of Russian regions have left their posts. February 6 witnessed Head of Perm region Viktor Basargin announcing his resignation. Later, Dmitry Medvedev appointed him as the head of Rostransnadzor (the Ministry of Transport), and Maxim Reshetnikov, head of the Moscow department of economic policy, became the Acting Head of the region. The next day Head of Buryatia Vyacheslav Nagovicyn resigned. February 13 saw the third Governor – Head of Novgorod Region Sergey Mitin – make announcement about his abdication. He also declared that he would not take part in the fall elections.
According to the Russian MIA’s spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, the detention of Russian woman Maria Butina in the US was specifically timed to coincide with the summit of Putin and Trump in order to minimize the effect of the presidents’ meeting.