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Far Eastern governors: their own against others

EastRussia sums up reshuffle in the Far East in 2018

In the autumn of 2017, EastRussia analyzed changes in the governor corps in the Far East, concluding that 11 resignations had occurred in nine DFO subjects in ten years, thanks to which the management team was updated to 100%, but there were still few “Varyags” from Moscow in it . The year 2018, which turned out rich in gubernatorial resignations and electoral defeats, showed that, in general, this rule is still valid. True, exceptions are gradually becoming more and more.

Far Eastern governors: their own against others
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A year ago, the governors of the Far Eastern Federal District, who had not yet changed their administrative borders, represented a tested team of old comrades. The most experienced among them was, without a doubt, the Chukchi Roman Kopin, who became the acting head of the subject in 2008, after resigning as head of Chukotka Roman Abramovich. The second largest gubernatorial experience was behind Khabarovsk Vyacheslav Shporta - Governor with 2009 of the year. The third - at the Yakut chapter Yegor Borisovwho received a post in 2010. From 2011, the Kamchatka career led his countdown. Vladimir Ilyukhin. All four received authority back in the presidential term of Dmitry Medvedev (2008-2012 years).

Vladimir Putin’s third term (2012-2018) gave the Far East all the other current governors: Magadan Vladimir the Baptist (2013) Alexandra Levintal in EAO (2015), Oleg Kozhemyako on Sakhalin (2015) and Alexandra Kozlova in the Amur region (2015). Pecheny and Kozlov before taking office as governors were the mayors of the capital cities of the same subjects, Oleg Kozhemyako - the governor of the Amur Region, Alexander Levintal - the first deputy chairman in the government of the neighboring Khabarovsk Territory. The only newcomer among them, and besides, the "Varyag" was the acting governor of Primorye. Andrey Tarasenko: In October, 2017 was transplanted from the chair of the FSUE “Rosmorport” head to the place of retired Vladimir Miklushevsky.

The appointment of Andrei Tarasenko, if he won the gubernatorial elections in September 2018 of the year, could be the first case of applying the “new gubernatorial model” in the Far East, which is quite successful in the central part of the country. Prior to this, the “alien” from Moscow, not connected in any way (or formally connected) with the region in adult management life, had not yet become governor in the Far East. And even Vladimir Miklushevsky, a former federal official, before becoming the governor of the Primorye Territory, managed to lead a couple of years to the Far Eastern Federal University created here.

2018 year, at first glance, dramatically changed the governor's landscape in the Far East: the leaders were replaced in the FNF 6 subjects. However, this did not happen according to the scenario that was imposed in the federal center.


In the Amur Region, the reason for personnel changes in 2018 was given by the reformatting of the Russian government, mandatory after the presidential elections. 18 May, the head of the region Alexander Kozlov was appointed Minister for the Development of the Far East. His mate was searched for a short time, and found here in the region. May 30 Acting Governor became a native of Blagoveshchensk Vasily Orlov.

Vasily Orlov, 43-year-old, began working in the local government under Oleg Kozhemyako: in 2008, he came from business to the mayor of Blagoveshchensk as deputy head. In 2013-2015, Mr. Orlov headed the Ministry of Economic Development of the Amur Region, taking advantage of his reputation as an intelligent manager. After Oleg Kozhemyako was appointed acting governor of Sakhalin and his successor Alexander Kozlov won the gubernatorial election, Vasily Orlov did not go to the island, like many other members of Kozhemyako’s team, but remained in the area. But - not in power. In September, he resigned 2015 from a ministerial post, already in October becoming the representative in the region of the general director of SIBUR holding - a company that has big plans for the Amur region.

In this position, Vasily Orlov waited for his appointment as Acting Governor of the Amur Region. The campaign of the acting governor was standard for such situations: he spent all summer traveling around the region, actively using, like his predecessor Alexander Kozlov, to cover his activities, not only the regional media, but also his personal Instagram account. Young and positive, albeit nominated by United Russia, Vasily Orlov managed to win support for 55,6% of voters. Communist Tatyana Rakutina, who received the second result, scored 26,56%.

The change of power in the Amur Region proceeded according to the scenario traditional for the Far East: the governor’s seat occupied “his own”.


In Yakutia in the spring, the head of the republic, Egor Borisov, resigned. Whatever the true motivation of this personnel decision, Mr. Borisov’s changer as head of the largest DFO was also found in the region itself. 28 May Acting Head of Yakutia was appointed Aisen NikolaevThe region’s second most important politician is the mayor of Yakutsk, a former regional official.

Relations between Yegor Borisov and Aisen Nikolayev were not easy, which is very similar to the situation in the Kozlov-Orlov pair: Nikolayev left the Yakut government immediately after Borisov headed the republic, and strengthened his role as an opponent with the last post of head of the largest municipality. In Yakutia, it was said that in the 2010 year, after the resignation of the previous head of the republic, Vyacheslav Shtyrov, his position could have been given to Mr. Nikolayev, but at the last moment, already in the Kremlin, something went wrong.

As a result, however, Aisen Nikolaev waited for his. In the September election of the head of Yakutia, he confidently won, getting 71,41% of votes. Yegor Borisov, following the tradition established in Yakutia, became a member of the Federation Council from the executive branch of the subject of the Russian Federation. In October 2018, he was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Agrarian and Food Policy and Environmental Management.

The irony is that the previous situation of confrontation between the head and the mayor of the capital in Yakutia was restored in the autumn. The candidate, whom Aisen Nikolaev himself wanted to see as head of Yakutsk, the speaker of the State Duma, Alexander Savvinov, supported by United Russia, lost the election. The municipality was headed by Sardan Avksentiev, nominated by the “Russian Revival Party”. Mrs. Avksenteva has already managed to show herself as a resolute manager, not afraid to attack the numerous privileges of officials (approximately in the same style Aisen Nikolaev himself managed the city), which provides her with popular support, and the head of the republic is a good incentive not to become a bronze.

Nevertheless, in Yakutia, the power changed from “its” to “its”.


Least of all the intrigues contained the planned gubernatorial elections in Chukotka. Roman Kopin managed to mobilize the electorate to the level of 60-turnout, having received 57,83% of votes. For Mr. Kopin, this is the third governor’s term, and it can be assumed that as long as Roman Abramovich’s influence remains in the region, members of his team will continue to manage Chukotka.

A stranger among a stranger

The fate of another Russian manager changed on the same day as Vasily Orlov and Aisen Nikolayev.

28 May, President Vladimir Putin appointed Acting Governor of the Magadan Region Sergey Nosov - The head of Nizhny Tagil. The fact that Mr. Nosov has outgrown the mayor's seat, the media in central Russia talked a long time ago: he was predicted to be replaced by the governor of the Kemerovo region instead of Aman Tuleyev, and to the post of governor of the Chelyabinsk region Boris Dubrovsky. Mr. Nosov has relevant experience: he also worked in business, in particular, he headed the Nizhny Tagil Metallurgical Plant and the holding Russpetsstal, was also an official - vice-governor of the Sverdlovsk region.

Hitting the Kremlin’s sight suddenly turned for the hereditary metallurgist Kolyma. He coped brilliantly with the first part of the plan: in the September elections, Sergei Nosov received 81,51% of votes - more than any of his Far Eastern counterparts. 

For the Magadan region, this is the first “Varyag” in the recent political history, and for the Far East it is no longer the last: in December 2018, the originator of the Rosatom structures was appointed as Sakhalin Governor Valery Limarenko. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Limarenko had absolutely nothing to do with Sakhalin, and it would be extremely difficult for him to fit in with the local elite, who had difficulty digesting Kozhemyako’s “stranger”, even with the support of Sergei Kiriyenko.

On how Sergei Nosov and Valery Limarenko (if the latter wins the election) will cope with the governor’s duties, much depends on the governor’s corps in the FEFD.

After all, the previous appointee from the center, Andrei Tarasenko, failed his mission.


EastRussia wrote more than once about the election situation in Primorye Territory, and it is well known: he worked as acting governor of the region for almost a year, Andrei Tarasenko did not cope with the main exam - the governor’s elections. Unable to win the communist Andrea Ischenko in the first round of elections, he, having formally won the second round, was forced to resign after him: observers of all opposing sides recorded so many violations that they could not agree with the final protocol either by the electoral commission or the CEC.

The defeat of Andrei Tarasenko turned out to be difficult to call the triumph of the federal center. Vladimir Putin, as in 2015, after the scandalous arrest of Sakhalin Governor Alexander Khoroshavin, had to call for help Oleg Kozhemyako. The transcript of the working meeting of the president with the then governor of Sakhalin Kozhemyako, to which he departed on September 25, in the midst of the annual Sakhalin Oil and Gas Forum, without saying goodbye to its participants, plunged political observers into amazement — never had Vladimir Putin and one of the governors or candidates for governor did not turn out to be so human.

“Vladimir Vladimirovich, being in Vladivostok at the forum (the fourth VEF. - EastRussia), I, as a person who was born in Primorye, grew up there and started working, of course, looked at the situation that arose there, it is not very good,” Then began Oleg Kozhemyako. “What do you mean?” The president replied. “I mean the situation with the elections,” the governor continued. “Why not good? The situation is normal, ”the president answered. After exchanging a few more seemingly meaningless, but in fact extremely significant remarks, the president and the governor came to the conclusion that Oleg Kozhemyako "wants to return home."

With an unprecedented level of support from the federal center, Oleg Kozhemyako returned home: in the December elections, he received 61,88% of votes. It is symptomatic that the candidate chose not to use the support of the ruling party, promoted as a self-promoted candidate, but did not neglect various administrative backups for his future election - he lobbied to transfer the capital of the Far Eastern Federal District from Khabarovsk to Vladivostok, deciding to release the Far East residents from the obligation to install ERA buttons - GLONASS for used cars, and so on. 

For Mr. Kozhemyako, this is at last a personal record (he became the governor of the fourth subject of the Russian Federation — the only one in the country), and first of all it’s a lot of hard work. In the region they say that with much greater pleasure he would continue his career in Moscow, at the federal level. However, it is possible that Oleg Kozhemyako has all this yet to come.

But the career of yet another heavyweight of the Far Eastern policy in the past year suddenly ended: Vyacheslav Shport lost the gubernatorial elections in the Khabarovsk Territory.


The phenomenon of the defeat of Vyacheslav Shport, the loser to the candidate of the LDPR Sergey Furgal and in the first, preliminary round of voting, and in the second, final, for sure will be included in the manuals for political consultants. Having seemingly all the trump cards in his hands, the Khabarovsk governor conducted a campaign for his third term ten times worse than the LDPR State Duma deputy Sergei Furgal, who had previously only lost the gubernatorial campaign, and also Vyacheslav Shport, a candidate without a single seemingly a trump up the sleeve. The result of the vote turned out to be staggering: 69,57% of the votes turned out to be for Sergey Furgal, and the entire 27,97% for the United Russia nominee by Vyacheslav Shport.

So far, everything looks like the Khabarovsk Territory receives more drawbacks in its relations with the federal center than advantages: the capital of the federal district has gone to the neighboring region, many transfers too. Meanwhile, it’s still too early to judge the performance of Sergey Furgal at the governor’s post that any assessments look very politically tinged, and the base for analytics is still too small, and even the budget of the region for 2019 slightly cringed on some important items does not give pessimism.

Newcomers among strangers

Finally, another 2018 event colored the political map of the FEFD in new colors: the Trans-Baikal Territory and the Republic of Buryatia are attached to the federal district. Acting governor of Transbaikalia in October, the former first deputy head of the Ministry of Eastern and Eastern Development was appointed Alexander Osipov, Buryatia from February 2017 was headed by the former deputy head of the Ministry of Transport Alexey Tsydenov. The first has yet to go through gubernatorial elections, the second has successfully overcame them a year ago, gaining 87,47% of the vote.

Both are the result of applying the “Varyag with roots” model. Alexey Tsydenov was born in Chita, he studied and began his career in Khabarovsk, but from the year of 2006 he worked in Moscow. Alexander Osipov was born in Rostov-on-Don and began his career at the Federal Tax Service, but in 2013-2018 he was closely associated with the Far East, performing duties first as assistant and then first deputy minister for development of the Far East.

The success of their career may be another argument in favor of the fact that the governor of the Far East does not necessarily have to be a Far East. So, the current “Far Easternness” of the heads of the subjects of the FEFD will erode further.

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