Ten governors may be dismissed this week
The candidates for the long-term resignation include heads of the Ivanovo, Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, Murmansk, Novosibirsk, and Omsk regions, the Nenets Autonomous District (NAO), the Krasnoyarsk and Altai regions, as well as several subjects in the North Caucasus.
A number of governors of the Russian regions may be removed by the beginning of this week. This is reported by Kommersant citing a source close to the Presidential Administration. The replacement of the heads of the Moscow region and St. Petersburg is also being discussed on the sidelines of the government and administration, however, there has been no president's decision on this matter yet. At the same time, as it became known, Governor of the Vladimir region Svetlana Orlova has recently met with the president, where she has been assured that the resignations would not affect her.
To note, it has become a prevalent tradition to dismiss or appoint region heads en masse. For example, in February this year, it was announced about the appointment of acting heads of the Novgorod, Ryazan, and Perm regions, as well as Karelia and Buryatia within a few days.
According to the publication’s source, the current possible replacement of regional leaders can be linked to the regional campaign of 2017, which was recognized successful, as well as to the fact there will be no time for governors’ replacement in the future – the Presidential Administration will be closely involved in the presidential election campaign beginning in December. According to Head of the Peterburgskaya Politika Fund Mikhail Vinogradov, regions for the replacement of their leaders are chosen on the principle of large electoral territories, or with consolidated voting. As a result, the change of current governors will reduce the severity of conflicts and give people hope, which will positively affect the results of the presidential vote, Vinogradov believes.
The publication notes that the governors and their press secretaries disprove the upcoming resignations (like they always do).
"My mandate expires in September 2019. My team and I are working in normal mode. Rumor always has it, but it does not concern me," Murmansk Governor Marina Kovtun commented the information via Twitter. Valery Shantsev, the Nizhny Novgorod governor, said that he was "not planning to leave yet." The office of Governor of the Krasnoyarsk region Victor Tolokonsky reported that the governor was working in normal mode. It also added that despite the media discussing his trip to Moscow, he had been in the region working in the residence.
Head of the Nenets Autonomous District Igor Koshin is also working in normal mode, according to his press secretary. A representative of Omsk region Governor Viktor Nazarov called these messages "some sort of bogus stories."
At the same time, as reported by Kommersant’s sources, the resignation of Nikolay Merkushkin from the post of Governor of the Samara region may actually happen this week owing to "health reasons."
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The opposition leader was detained in the afternoon of February 22 in Moscow while he was walking out of a dental clinic. Navalny is accused of a second participation in an unsanctioned event, for which he faces up to 30 days of jail.
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