Sunday, December 18, 2022

Elections Make Even Loyal Mayors More Independent-Minded and Russian Governors will Always Seek to Do Away with Such Arrangements, Vitaly Ivanov Says

 Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 16 – The Kremlin has been seeking to do away with the direct election of mayors and as of now only six administrative centers east of the Urals – Novosibirsk, Abakan, Khabarovsk, Anadyr and Ulan-Ude – still have them.  But the push to do away with them is coming not only from Moscow but from the heads of federal subjects, experts say.

            In a discussion of the possibility of the elimination of direct elections of mayors, regional specialist Vitaly Ivanov says that “any normal governor has the desire to have under himself the municipal vertical. A mayor elected directly, even if he is completely loyal and unambitious, may nonetheless ‘break out’ of the vertical” (

            Such a possibility, he continues, “creates may managerial problems and risks” because “the governor can’t be sure his orders will be fully and effectively carried out because any major elected directly can theoretically and in many cases practically ignore such orders or at least approach them creatively.”

            Consequently, Ivanov says, “if the chance opens up to get rid of such elections, then the regional authorities will naturally seek to get rid of them.”

            It is certain that Putin and his entourage in Moscow share that view, but the baldness of Ivanov’s remarks highlights something that is often neglected: direct elections even at the lowest levels can promote diversity and the chance for change that will be eliminated if such procedures are eliminated as the Putin regime and its allies are now seeking to do. 

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