Saturday, September 28, 2019

Kremlin Seen Reluctant to Change Republic Heads in North Caucasus Anytime Soon Lest Such Moves Provoke Conflict or Affect 2021 Duma Vote

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 25 – Earlier this week, Minchenko Consulting suggested that two governors in the Southern Federal District and North Caucasus Federal District (in Karachayevo-Cherkessia and Krasnodar Kray) may soon be replaced, but Dmitry Balovsky argues that the Kremlin is increasingly reluctant to take such steps lest it rock the boat.

            The director of the Moscow Institute for Social-Economic and Political Research argues that at present there are no plans for replacing governors in these regions lest shifts spark protests or unsettle the region in advance of the 2021 elections to the Russian State Duma (

            That does not mean that changes are impossible, Balovsky continues; but the closer the time of the Duma elections approaches, the more reluctant the Kremlin is likely to become given the sensitivities of the local populations and the near certainty that any change would unbalance the local political elites and cause problems for the all-Russian vote.

            Gubernatorial elections are planned for 2021 in North Ossetia and Karachayevo-Cherkessia, and if Moscow does want to make a change in either, it is likely to do so next year to give the new incumbent time to build up his authority. But the analyst says that the probability of change is far greater in Karachayevo-Cherkessia than in North Ossetia.

            There simply have been too many scandals in the former that have attracted the attention of people in Moscow to exclude the possibility of a change there even if many in the capital recognize that any shift there now could create problems in the future.

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