Staunton, Dec. 23 – One of the most important developments of the past year has been the success of the heads of federal subjects in ensuring that only their preferred candidates were elected to the Russian State Duma. These deputies, Aleksey Mukhin says, will now be used first and foremost as lobbyists for the regions and republics from which they come.
That may not be obvious from their voting in the Russian legislature where they will be subject to effective party discipline and vote as the Kremlin prefers, the Moscow Center for Political Information says; but it will be from their activities outside of the Duma chamber (club-rf.ru/detail/5987).
These deputies, precisely because they were chosen by regional leaders, will lobby on behalf of the regions and republics from which they come in the halls of the Presidential Administration and the Moscow ministries. And such activities, Mukhin argues, may be the most important part of their work, especially from the point of view of regional leaders.
Indeed, he insists that “after the Duma elections, there has taken place a strengthening of regional lobbying” and that that development is “the chief event of 2021” as far as the regions and their relationship with Moscow is concerned even though it has been largely ignored because of Moscow’s efforts to strengthen the power vertical.
“The covid reality has distorted the interrelationship of the center and the regions,” Mukhin says; “but for the regions, not to the worse. On the one hand, there has taken place an effort to create a single system of organs of power [but] on the other, the regions have received additional financing.”
These new lobbyists will be working to ensure that their regions get at least what they are due if not more; and that will by itself change the way politics is played out between Moscow and regional elites.