Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted the resignation of the governor of the northern region of Nenets on Thursday and promptly appointed a replacement.
There have been announcements of the resignations of four other governors this week, and the Interfax news agency cited an undisclosed source close to the Kremlin on Thursday as saying that eight more governors could follow.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said regional leaderships were undergoing a ‘rotation,’ an ‘absolutely normal, required and anticipated process,’ according to comments carried by state news agency TASS on Wednesday.
The departing governors were being replaced with ‘young, talented specialists,’ Peskov said. ‘They all have work experience in organs of the federal and regional authorities.’ ‘In the president's opinion, they are capable of realizing potential that they have already established despite their young age, in the interests of developing their regions,’ Peskov said.
Earlier this month Russia's ruling party swept gubernatorial elections throughout the country. The United Russia party, backed by Putin, also has a constitutional super-majority in parliament.
Putin, 64, raised eyebrows last year when he replaced long-time ally and peer Sergei Ivanov with a near-unknown about two decades younger as the Kremlin's chief of staff.
‘This is part of the latest Kremlin strategy of replacing regional politicians, most of them of the same generation as Putin and older, with younger professional bureaucrats,’ Russian policy analyst Nabi Abdullaev said in reference to the gubernatorial replacements.
‘The new appointees are not tied to the regional elites, and they don't get these posts because of rallying public political support,’ Abdullaev told dpa.
‘Instead they have only Putin to thank for such promotions, and they are supposed by the Kremlin to remain loyal only to it in their management of the Russian provinces,’ said Abdullaev, associate director for Russia at the global consultancy Control Risks Group.
‘The Kremlin's rationale is also to try to improve the quality of the governance in the regions by appointing professional managers to head them and to bridge the generational gap between the regional authorities, some of whom date back to Soviet officialdom, and their respective constituencies,’ Abdullaev told dpa.
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