Sunday, December 23, 2018

Declining Trust in Government at All Levels Becoming Problem in Majority of Federal Subjects, Grashchenkov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 22 – Vladimir Putin has made maintaining trust in the central and regional governments a new measure of the success of governors and directed Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to personally monitor this. But Ilya Grashchenkov says that declining trust in both is becoming a problem “in more than 50 percent” of the country’s federal subjects.

            The head of the Moscow Center for Regional Politics says that this trend must be worrisome to the center but that evaluating the situation in regions with regard to trust is going to be hard. For example, he asks, how is Moscow going to rate governors who oppose the center but are effective managers in all other respects? (

            That is the case with communist Sergey Levchenko in Irkutsk Oblast and it may be the case elsewhere.  If they are rated successful in all other areas, what is Moscow going to do when it turns out that the population shows declining trust in the center but not in the regional heads?  (The opposite situation is easier, of course, but still requires careful handling.)

            And even if the governor is a member of the party of power, his success within his region may not translate into higher ratings of trust in the center. Instead, Grashchenkov suggests, it may have the opposite effect by highlighting what an official can do and what Moscow quite clearly is not.

            The regional expert says he fully understands that the authorities in Moscow want to measure whether the governor controls domestic affairs in his region and whether he is active or simply sitting and doing nothing. “But my view,” Grashchenkov says, “is that it is impossible to do so without differentiating the regions.”

            That is because “they are all different.” Treating them as if they were all the same won’t work, especially given that they include everything from “the little Jewish Autonomous District” to “big Moscow.”

            The trend the analyst points to is confirmed by figures from Tatarstan obtained in polls by the experts’ council at the Kazan Federal University.  They show that support (not just trust) in Vladimir Putin has fallen from 85 percent a year ago to only 57 percent now (

            These polls also show a collapse in support for United Russia, with its backers falling from 68.5 percent to 49.2 percent while backing for the KPRF has risen from 12.9 percent to 26.9 percent.  Meanwhile, support for the republic president Rustam Minnikhanov rose slightly, while concerns about social problems increased dramatically. 

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