Staunton, August 23 – The continuing protests in Khabarovsk, the result of the Kremlin’s removal of a popular governor from the LDPR, could find echoes in five other regions of the Russian Federation after the September 13 elections, according to experts at Moscow’s Minchenko Consulting Group.
The five Kremlin candidates most likely at risk of losing are Penza Governor Ivan Belozertsev, Irkutsk’s Igor Kobzev, Arkhangelsk’s Aleksandr Tsybulsky, Kostroma’s Sergey Sitnikov, and Krasnodar’s Veniamen Kondratyev (znak.com/2020-08-23/eksperty_v_pyati_regionah_rossii_na_vyborah_mozhet_povtoritsya_habarovskiy_scenariy).
Four others are also at risk of being forced into a second round of voting, the Minchenko Consulting experts continue, although not as great as these five: Rostov’s Vasily Golubyev, Tambov’s Aleksandr Nikitin, Komi Republic’s Vladimir Uyba, and Perm Kray’s Dmitry Makhonin.
People in the regions want change, and they especially want to feel that the individual serving as governor is their representative rather than an outsider imposed on them by Moscow. Many of the one’s at risk fail as far as both of these things are concerned: they represent continuity rather than change and they haven’t established their bona fides with local people.
Many of these nine have used the devices of their predecessors to improve their chances: running as independents rather than as part of the often hated United Russia of which they are members, and working hard to exclude from the voting potentially popular opponents, although the latter move is so obvious that it is no longer as effective as it once was.
The man Moscow has imposed in Krasnoyarsk, Mikhail Degtyarev, in place of Sergey Furgal, would likely be among those forced on the defensive by the elections; but because his arrival came so late, Degtyarev won’t face the voters until sometime in the fall of 2021. Whether he can win over the local population by then remains to be seen.