Staunton, December 23 – Moscow may not be able to amalgamate federal subjects at will given local resistance, but it routinely combines them into larger units for various purposes, including economic super regions, federal districts, and even electoral districts, something that in each case weakens the constitutionally-defined subjects relative to the central government.
In the last move and one that should not come as a surprise, Moscow officials reportedly are planning to combine Kurgan Oblast with the Tyumen Oblast and the Khanty-Mansiik and Yamalo-Nenets autonomous districts into a single constituency for next year’s Duma elections, the URA news agency reports (ura.news/news/1052464610).
A Kurgan politician, speaking on condition of anonymity, says that there is “a great probability” that this will happen, something that means even United Russia candidates from Kurgan will have a more difficult time becoming members of the Duma and thus reducing the oblast’s influence in the Russian capital.
A Tyumen official, also speaking on background, says that the federal subjects “really are being united for the Duma elections. He adds that there is precedent for this because in 2016, officials united Tyumen and the two autonomous districts for the same purpose. But this may not be the end of the story.
Another source, the URA news agency says, believes that Kurgan may try to avoid this demotion by seeking to have itself combined with Chelyabinsk Oblast, an arrangement that would give its candidates a better chance of winning seats, yet another way in which conflicts over amalgamation even of this kind can emerge and be exacerbated.