Putin plays down wave of governor resignations as ‘natural process’
“Rotation [of staff] is an absolutely natural process, it is self-explanatory. I’m sure that you can apply your abilities in other fields of work. I intend to help your experience and knowledge of the situation in particular regions and in the country as a whole to be put to effective use,” Putin said at a meeting with the former governors of the Russian regions of Buryatia, Karelia, Perm, Novgorod and Ryazan.
“I rely on you to support your successors with your knowledge and experience as well as your ideas on what should be done in the nearest future, so that we don’t lose the development rate in the regions that you have been heading,” he added.
The five ex-governors who met with Putin on Thursday evening all resigned within the past month. There has been media speculation about the possible reasons behind such a major reshuffle, although top officials have dismissed this, saying that the changes were pre-planned and natural.
Earlier this week Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov told journalists not to look for signs of hidden political intrigue in the wave of resignations, noting that the officials who left their posts had headed their regions for many years and that the president was satisfied with their work.
The speaker of Russia’s upper house also said that staff rotation was nothing unusual, and that it was necessary to bring new people and fresh views to Russian politics.