The campaign headquarters of Acting Vladimir Region Governor Alexander Avdeev is considering the option of abandoning direct elections for the region’s head in September, Kommersant reports, citing a source close to the political process.
According to the source, such a decision may be linked to the difficulties in finding sponsors for the election campaign, as well as the anticipated dissatisfaction of citizens with the possible unemployment, reduced range of products and shortages in an unfavorable economic situation. According to the interlocutor, the rating of the head of the region could suffer by September.
“The people have rallied around the president, and his rating has risen. But the governor is not the president, and people will have questions about the empty sugar shelves with him,” says Kommersant, quoting the source.
A source close to the process of preparing the election also told the paper that the Kremlin’s campaign staff is not preparing for the campaign in the classical sense of the word. Information support for the first person will remain one of the traditional methods of preparing for the election.
According to the source, direct gubernatorial elections can be replaced with voting in the Legislative Assembly. Such a procedure will theoretically be possible after the law “On Public Power” enters into force.
Another option is to postpone the elections to a later date. A formal reason for this could be the introduction of a high-preparedness regime in the region back in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In September, gubernatorial elections (except for our region) should be held in 14 other regions. In Adygeya, the head of the region will be elected by the local parliament. Officially, regional authorities say that for now, the possibility of canceling direct elections is not considered. The Kremlin maintains a similar position. For example, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists that there is no discussion of abolishing direct gubernatorial elections.
The CPRF branch in Vladimir opposed the idea of abolishing direct gubernatorial elections. According to Anton Sidorko, first secretary of the Communist Party (CPRF) regional branch, if passed, the measure would lead to growing opposition and depressive sentiments:
“Taking away the right to choose from our citizens means eliminating the most important democratic institution. It will aggravate the already enormous level of alienation of society from political life, from the state as a whole. Under such a situation, the issues of social consolidation and calls to work together with the state to solve ambitious tasks will be absolutely unrealizable. All this will only intensify depressive and protest moods in society.
Moreover, voters will inevitably catch the authorities in yet another lie. Talks about the need to save money by eliminating elections are nothing more than hypocrisy. For example, at the last session of the CPRF deputies passed a law which will increase state expenditures by 1.5 billion rubles over the next three years.
The Vladimir regional committee of the CPRF will make every effort not only to maintain direct gubernatorial elections, but to ensure that they are as popular as possible,” says Anton Sidorko.
Should direct gubernatorial elections in the Vladimir region be held, they may follow some new rules. Thus, the regional election commission is considering implementing electronic voting technology, which “showed its relevance during the last campaign. TASS reports that six regions have applied to the Central Election Commission for electronic voting. The newspaper does not specify which ones. An indirect sign that the 33rd region was among them may be the appearance of articles in the media about the convenience and modernity of the new voting method, in particular, on the popular portal “Zebra-TV.
It should be noted that in the past two weeks, the White House has seen structural changes and the appointment of officials responsible for the information field. Thus, the regional administration revived the media committee, appointing Ekaterina Gutsalenko, a former employee of the information service of the local state TV and radio company, to head it. On March 11, it became known about the appointment of a new director of the department of regional policy. Tatiana Adulova, a former United Russia regional branch functionary and a member of the regional election commission, was named the new director.
Simultaneously with the appointments, Acting Governor Alexander Avdeev increased his activity in the social networks and created his own Telegram-channel. However, the changes may be related both to the blocking of Instagram in Russia and to the appearance of new and important topics in the information field, such as the arrival of refugees and control over food prices.
On Thursday, March 24, the region’s acting head will address deputies of the Legislative Assembly. The first person of the region will probably want to use the reporting form for his program speech. Previously Alexander Avdeev already described in general terms the main anti-crisis measures planned by the regional administration. However, the Acting Governor has not presented a strategic plan for the Vladimir region since his appearance.