Policy Memos

The Last Governor: Regional Elites, Civil Society, and the Future of the Russian State

Policy Memo:


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Four years in contemporary Russian politics is an era. From one election cycle to another we have witnessed great changes in Russian society. The particularities first introduced in 2000 have now become commonplace, however by 2004 new problems arose. The question is whether this rapid change should be evaluated as a democratic development or will it discredit democracy and disillusion the electorate? To a large extent, this perception depends on the evalua tor’s understanding of democracy and one’s own political agenda. 
The Volgograd gubernatorial elections of December 5, 2004 suddenly became one of the last regional elections in Russia as a result of Putin’s federation reform. Despite that fact, there was significant competition in the election, and much money was invested in the race. What were the reasons for such an uncompromised fight? What aims were the regional elite pursuing? 
Certainly, an incumbent governor hopes to get another term in power, thus protecting him from the possibility of the Kremlin’s alternative choice for four more years. However, the new law on gubernatorial appointments recommends that elected governors ask the President to reappoint them. What difference does an election, which costs so much money and effort to hold, make compared to presidential appointment? [...]


About the author

European University at St. Petersburg