Multiple Russian governors resign
Five Russian governors announced their resignation on Tuesday. All of them would have seen their terms expire later this year ahead of the regional elections scheduled for September 11, Russia’s national voting day in 2022.
Two of the governors – Sergey Zhvachkin of the Siberian Tomsk Region and Valery Radaev of Saratov Region in the Volga Federal District – had served two consecutive terms and had occupied their posts for a decade since 2012. Although Russia passed a law allowing governors to serve more than two terms in a row in 2021, both said they would not run in the upcoming election.
The head of Kirov Region – also in the Volga Federal District – Igor Vasilyev, who had occupied his position since 2016, said he had asked President Vladimir Putin to relieve him of his duties since he plans to work at the federal level. The governor previously worked with the Russian State Register – a federal agency that deals with everything related to land and real estate.
The other two outgoing governors are Nikolay Lyubimov of Ryazan Region in central Russia and Alexander Evstifeev, the head of the Mari El Republic – an autonomous region of the indigenous Mari people. Both had served as governors since 2017. Evstifeev also previously served as a Moscow Region Commercial Court judge. Neither of them provided reasons for their resignations.
Putin has already signed a decree appointing acting governors for all five regions. Two of them – Vladimir Mazur (Tomsk Region) and Alexander Sokolov (Kirov Region) – previously worked with the presidential administration. Pavel Malkov, who is about to take over Ryazan Region from Lyubimov, previously headed the Russian state statistics service (Rosstat), which was responsible for the national population census in 2021.
In Saratov Region, Radaev will be replaced by his deputy, Roman Busargin. Mari El Republic is to be temporarily headed by Yury Zaitsev, the ex-government head of the Kalmykia Republic. All of the acting governors will have the chance to run in the September elections in their regions.
Although the string of resignations attracted media attention, Russian political analysts do not view it as an extraordinary event. “There is nothing new about it,” Aleksey Markin, the deputy head of the Center for Political Technologies, told Interfax, adding that governors sometimes announce their resignations ahead of elections if they feel popular support is waning. “When a single governor did that, [people] paid little attention to such events,” he said.