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Window on Eurasia — New Series: United Russia Not Renewing Leadership at Regional Level, Creating Problems for Duma Races


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 Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 20 – A survey of the results of leadership in the legislative assembles of 11 districts in the Urals region after the most recent elections shows a sharp decline in the turnover of people in positions that often serve are the group from which United Russia chooses its Duma candidates.

            In 2015, after the last elections, more than 50 percent of the speakers in these regional parliaments after the election were different than those before the vote. This time, more than 68 percent were the same people, a significant slowing of renewal, Ivan Chuprov of the URA news agency says (ura.news/articles/1036281293).

            In both 2015 and 2020, all the speakers were members of the ruling United Russia Party, an indication that that party is not showing the rotation and entrance of new people into positions of responsible that polls say the Russian people want. (According to a Levada survey, 59 percent of Russians want new people even if they are members of the same party.)

            Mikhail Karyagin of the Moscow Center for Political Conjuncture says that not renewing cadres at this level “threatens to become a problem for the party of power before the elections to the State Duma.” Russians want to see new faces, and United Russia isn’t doing what is necessary to groom them.

            Political analyst Dmitry Solonnikov agrees but points out that this problem isn’t limited to United Russia. The other systemic parties have also displayed increasing stability of cadres at the regional level. If the population wants something new, it will have to look to New People and For Truth.

            But a third expert, Dmitry Orlov of the Agency for Political and Economic Communications, says that it is a mistake to focus only on the top position. If one looks downlist, there has been a continuing and “quite high” turnover in cadres. And United Russia managers can select from among them.

            While the pattern URA reports was based on an examination of only 11 regions, it is likely that the same thing holds elsewhere in the Russian Federation as well. And it is also likely that this stability of cadres in the top slots will only further erode popular support for the party of power. 

Window on Eurasia — New Series