(FT) Vladimir Putin had been reassured that the regional election in September 2018 would be nothing to worry about. Mr Putin’s man would retain the governorship of Khabarovsk Krai, a region in Russia’s far east, securing a small majority in the first round, one of his intelligence agencies had predicted. The upstart local opposition challenger was no threat. [...]
“When the economic growth in Russia was high, Putin did not face much resistance when eliminating the regional autonomy. It is when the economy stagnates or declines and people on the ground do not see prospects for their future that the regions start feeling the negative impact of the lack of autonomy,” says Maria Snegovaya, a fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis.
“Federal-level appointees are increasingly viewed as being unfamiliar and uninterested in local issues. As a result, protesters increasingly start demanding more real federalism,” she adds. “Further destabilisation at the regional level in the near future may be coming.” [...]
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