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Will the Far East preserve the governor's elitism

EastRussia analyzed the past and prospects of the Far Eastern Chapters

The other day RBC published material on the averaged portrait of the governor in the 21-th century, having studied the biographies of 183 heads of the subjects of the Russian Federation elected and appointed over the past 18 years. The average governor appointed in 2017 is a 46-year-old federal official from Moscow. EastRussia tried to apply the findings of the study to the state of affairs in the Far Eastern Federal District, where only one of the governors in the last "governor fall" of September-October has changed so far, in Primorye, but in general, the governor's corps has been updated by 100% over the past 10 years. 

Will the Far East preserve the governor's elitism
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From the Far Eastern governors, the most experienced head of the region at the moment is Chukchi Roman Kopin - he became the head of the subject in 2008, after his predecessor Roman Abramovich decided to resign from the governor's post, but not from the regional authorities (in October 2008-th Mr. Abramovich was elected speaker of the district parliament). The second in terms of the length of his stay in the governor's chair is Khabarovsk Vyacheslav Shport - he became the successor to Viktor Ishayev, who moved to the post of Minister for the Development of the Far East - presidential envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District, in 2009. At the same time, the representative of the embassy, ​​Mr. Shport, has overstayed: Viktor Ishayev resigned in 2013, he was replaced by current plenipotentiary Yuri Trutnev to the district. 

In 2010, the President of Yakutia Vyacheslav Shtyrov resigned "for personal reasons", leaving in his place the head of the republic, Prime Minister Egor Borisov (Mr. Shtyrov himself later became a senator from the region). The same path was followed by the governor of the Jewish Autonomous Region Nikolai Volkov, who led the subject since 1991: having retired in 2010, he then became a senator, and the mayor of Birobidzhan Alexander Vinnikov replaced him. In 2011, the Kamchatka governor Alexey Kuzmitsky was sent to early resignation and replaced by the chief federal inspector for Kamchatka, Vladimir Ilyukhin. In February, 2012 resigned with the promotion, to the post of deputy head of the Ministry of Regional Development, left the seaside governor Sergey Darkin, who was replaced by FEFU rector Vladimir Miklushevsky. Thus, the six heads of subjects of the FEFD received the authority for Dmitry Medvedev's presidential term (2008-2012 years).

The third term of Vladimir Putin (2012-2018) has so far been marked by five resignations and appointments in the Far Eastern governor's corps. In 2013, the magistrate governor Nikolay Dudov resigned due to the expiration of his term, leaving the chair to the mayor of the regional center Vladimir Pechenomu. In 2015, three appointments took place at once: Alexander Levintal moved from the cabinet of the first deputy head of the Khabarovsk government to Birobidzhan, to the governor's office liberated by Alexander Vinnikov. And Oleg Kozhemyako moved to Sakhalin, to the place of the arrested Aleksandr Khoroshavin, leaving the Amur region "younger friend" Alexander Kozlov. Finally, in October 2017, Vladimir Putin accepted an early resignation of Vladimir Miklushevsky, appointing the provisional governor of Primorye, Andrey Tarasenko. 

The chronology of appointments of governors to the Far East testifies, first, that the governor's corps in the region over the past 10 years has been updated by 100%: in the east of the country there is not a single head of the entity occupying this post longer than with 2008. Secondly, the governors in the Far East changed very rhythmically: an average of one per year, and some years (for example, 2014-th) did without any resignation at all. The situation of 2015 of the year, provoked by the arrest of Alexander Horoshavin, was a force majeure, and without it the Kremlin could quite manage to replace the governor only in the EAO. 

Thirdly, the Far Eastern governors at the time of their appointment for the last 10 years had almost twice the age: from 34 years (Roman Kopin and Alexander Kozlov) to 63 years (Vladimir Pechenyi). However, both extremes are examples of two diametrically opposed models of entering power: either after the senior mentor, both in Chukotka and the Amur Region, or as the only political heavyweight in the region, the second most important politician after the governor (Vladimir Bucheny's example). 

The average age of the governors of the Far Eastern Federal District at the date of their appointment as acting interim over the past 10 years, according to EastRussia's calculations, is 50 years. The average age of the current governors, including the acting head of Primorye, is 55,3 years. RBC calculated that the average age of new regional leaders across the country fell from 55 in 2013 to 46 in 2017. But this is clearly not about the Far East.


The most interesting feature of the Far East: nowhere, except for the Primorsky Territory, in 2008-2017 did not become the interim governor of a "Varangian" from Moscow. But this, according to the findings of RBC, is the average portrait of a Russian governor in recent years: this is a federal envoy from the capital. "If the total number of" Varangians "(both federal and from other regions) among the new governors in Medvedev's presidency was 48%, then during Putin's third presidential term, this number increased to 64%," the agency said in a study. The Kremlin, political analysts interviewed by RBC emphasize, prefers to appoint governors from Moscow so that local elites do not turn into clans. And also due to the fact that the incumbent governors during the period in power squeeze out potential rivals from the political field, therefore it is difficult to choose governors from the local staff. 

This situation, however, is not typical for the Far East. As retaining their powers, and already lost their heads of Far Eastern subjects Roman Kopin (Chukotka), Vyacheslav Shport (Khabarovsk Territory), Yegor Borisov (Yakutia), Alexander Vinnikov (EAO), Vladimir Pechenyi (Magadan Oblast), Alexander Kozlov (Amur Region ) came to the governor's posts from the apparatus of regional governments or municipalities in the region. In some cases they were "led by the hand" to the regional officials by the governors themselves, taking into account the imminent future shift, as happened with Vyacheslav Shport and Alexander Kozlov, or long before it, as with Yegor Borisov. In other cases, there were simply no more worthy candidates in the subjects.  

There are also "Varangians" not at the federal level for their current subjects among the acting governors. But Alexander Levintal (JAO), although he did not work in leadership positions in the Jewish Autonomy, was born there and successfully built his bureaucratic career in neighboring Khabarovsk. Vladimir Ilyukhin (Kamchatka) worked as the chief federal inspector in several subjects of the Far Eastern Federal District, but before his appointment, he fulfilled these duties in his native Kamchatka. The case of Oleg Kozhemyako, who managed to visit the governor of three regions in the Far East and the senator from another, is quite unique, but you cannot call him a near-Eastern one either. Finally, even Vladimir Miklushevsky (Primorye), sometimes called the first "Varangian" in the Far Eastern Federal District as an ex-deputy minister of education, in 2010-2012 still worked as the rector of the Far Eastern Federal University.

From the appointment of Andrei Tarasenko, you can draw at least one conclusion. 

Such a personnel move is either a new trend, which will then gradually spread to the entire Far East, or a kind of "seaside anomaly" - due to the traditional complexity of managing the region. The second option still looks more plausible, since until now federal groups of influence have not launched a struggle over governor's candidacies - with the exception of the same Primorsky Territory. 

If the first statement is true, then the Far Eastern Federal District will inevitably face a big governor's "purge": none of the current local governors can be considered a full-fledged representative of the Center's will, as independent as possible from the regional elites. In this case, "recruits" for governor positions should be sought, firstly, in the office of the president's plenipotentiary envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yuri Trutnev, who brought many people from Moscow with him to the macroregion who already had experience in the Far East. Secondly, the federal government, the Federation Council and the State Duma can supply governors for the Far East - the deputies of the latter have connections with the regions, but there is no dependence on them. 

About the third source, local cadres, which is still the main source in the Far East, in the event of a radical change in the model for selecting governors, the regions of the Far Eastern Federal District will have to be forgotten - except perhaps for Yakutia and Chukotka. After all, the first is still strong national traditions, and in the second - the position of Roman Abramovich.

Editorial note. The text analyzes the biographies of the current governors of the subjects of the Far Eastern Federal District, posted on the official resources of the authorities: Vladimir the Baptist (Magadan Region), Roman Kopin (Chukotka Autonomous Region), Vladimir Ilyukhina (Kamchatka Territory), Yegor Borisov (Republic of Yakutia) Alexandra Levintal (EAO), Vyacheslav Shporta (Khabarovsk region), Oleg Kozhemyako (Sakhalin), Alexandra Kozlova (Amur region), Andrey Tarasenko (Primorsky Krai), as well as data from open sources.

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