Elena Ivanova, Natalia Seibil
Sergey Furgal - the fifteenth governor since 2003, who ended up behind bars. Under President Yeltsin, governors were not imprisoned. Positional fights were waged with them, a truce was concluded, quarreled again, then reconciled ... The situation changed in 2004, when the gubernatorial elections were actually canceled. “First went” in 2004: the governor of Kamchatka, the Communist Mikhail Mashkovtsev, suffered a total loss of 7 billion rubles in several criminal cases. An interesting accusation is the unlawful distribution of salmon fishing quotas, which is considered “ business as usual “ in Kamchatka and the Far East . Mashkovtsev managed to be re-elected, and things were closed after the statute of limitations. The following three governors: the head of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug Aleksey Barinov, the governor of the Amur region Leonid Korotkov and the head of the Irkutsk region Alexander Tishanin came under typical "gubernatorial" charges in 2007-2008: abuse of office, negligence, misuse of budget funds. After court trials, Korotkov was acquitted by the court, the case was closed on Tishanin due to the lack of corpus delicti, Barinov was sentenced to probation and released from the courtroom. Three governor seats were vacated for the right people.
During the years of the presidency of Dmitry Medvedev, the governors were no longer planted. Only at the end, in 2011, the governor of the Tula region Denin received a bribe and sat for 9 and a half years. In subsequent years, there were more landings. In 2015, 3 governors immediately went to jail: the Bryansk and Sakhalin regions and the head of the Komi Republic. Interestingly, the head of Komi, Vyacheslav Gaiser, was accused of causing damage to the republic in the amount of 3.5 billion rubles, which is two times less than that presented to Mikhail Mashkovtsev in 2004. However, Mashkovtsev did not spend a day behind bars, and Gaiser sat for 11 years.
Geiser’s predecessor Vladimir Torlopov, who was accused of creating a criminal community with his successor, was unlucky, and he went to jail for 6 and a half years.
The most fruitful year for the planting of governors was 2017. Before the presidential election, 4 people were charged. Two went to prison - the former head of the Kirov region Nikita Belykh and the ex-head of the Mari-El Republic Leonid Markelov. The head of Udmurtia, Alexander Solovyov, has been sitting for four years under house arrest. Mikhail Yurevich, the former governor of the Chelyabinsk region, left for sin and went to London in absentia. His case is very reminiscent of the story with Finance Minister Alexei Ulyukaev. The “sausages” were brought to Yurevich by the Minister of Health Vitaly Teslenko appointed by him, after which a criminal case was opened against Yurevich about a bribe of 26 million rubles.
The accusations against Sergei Furgal are much more serious - he is charged with murder. It means life imprisonment.
Political analyst Andrei Mironov, head of the Foundation for the Study of Electoral Processes , said: “Furgal’s arrest is not an indicator of the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies, it’s a blow to the prestige of the first person in the state who is involved in the appointment of all governors. In Russia, the principle "I directed you, I am responsible for everything" has not been canceled yet, so the simple population raises the question: Furgal has been in the State Duma for 11 years, and then was appointed governor. And where did law enforcement agencies look, and how was he introduced to the President of the country as governor, having such tails behind him? Now this is the main question. ”
Some political scientists believe that Furgal will sit down because of the election. The Kremlin cannot forgive 44% of the turnout. “A turnout of 44% in the vote for the constitution was the last straw. The governor is responsible for the disloyalty of the population of power. In the Legislative Assembly of the Khabarovsk Region, the presence of the party in power is zero. None of the "United Russia", but full of the Communist Party and the Liberal Democratic Party. The rating of Furgal in the Khabarovsk Territory exceeds the rating of the President. Ahead of the elections to the State Duma. Khabarovsk Territory is a very large territory. Khabarovsk Territory proved to be unsystematic in the overall political picture for the country's leadership. It was an abscess that needed to be removed, and it was removed with the help of old cases. If Furgal’s result were the same as that of Tsepelev’s in Kemerovo, namely 90% of the turnout, then there would be no criminal cases, and Furgal would continue to sit in this place, ”says Andrei Mironov.
Professor, Doctor of Political Sciences, Yuli Nisnevich, shared with NI the opinion that the arrests of governors and mayors are the result of a struggle between influence groups in the Russian government:
“This system is built on the competition of factions. Therefore, I always said that we do not have a personalistic dictatorship, but personified authoritarianism. There is a war of groups, and they permeate everything. In one power structure there may be several different groups. This is corporate authoritarianism. It is not like the Stalinist system. Here, each group climbs into the territory of the other, so the system is not stable. These groups are engaged in protecting the economy. Before President Putin, these were financial and economic groups. With the advent of Putin, they were replaced by power structures, groups that permeate them. One group will be replaced by another group. Someone has an interest in the Khabarovsk Territory, the Furgal interferes with them, they clean it. ”
Not only governors, but also mayors are under fire. In 2019, the Committee of Civil Initiatives, a public organization founded by Alexei Kudrin, conducted a study on the peculiarities of rotation of the corps of mayors in Russia. Researchers analyzed data from 109 cities for 359 mayors. If we briefly describe its results, we can quote the immortal comedy of Leonid Gaidai “The Caucasian Captive”: Russian mayors have only two roads - either to the registry office or to prison. After leaving their posts 263 mayors 55 of them crossed to regional executive authorities, many became deputy governors, and 39 were prosecuted. If the mayors were elected, and therefore not dependent on the governor, they were more likely to be prosecuted. Those who were appointed went further into power. 20 ex-mayors became deputies of the State Duma or senators. Another 12 former mayors became governors.
“Landing is a natural way for elites to change the representative of power. Since security forces play a very important role in our country, the lion's share of resignations and landings of mayors falls on their participation. If earlier the struggle for the mayor’s seat was held in the form of elections, now it’s much easier to exert force on one or the new mayor, because, unlike the governor, he is less likely to get support at the federal level, ”said Ilya Grashchenkov, head of the Regional Policy Development Center .
Andrey Mironov agrees with him: “If we analyze the last 10-15 years, the large pool of those wishing to become governors is significantly reduced, seeing tight control of the Kremlin and law enforcement agencies, but new appointees are nominated by federal structures that are put in this region only to conduct those or other tasks that will go from the center. They are not independent in their actions, but only performers of certain groups. ”
Political scientists say that there is a need in society for the return of elections at the municipal level. Technocrats cannot solve the problems of citizens. The governors put them, therefore they are accountable only to them. "You cannot call these managers effective. Therefore, we see technocrats in these posts. Now there is a request in the society for the return of direct mayoral elections, and the mayor must be a politician along with economic functions. Society begins choose by political coloring. ", concludes Andrey Mironov.