Support independent journalism in Central & Eastern Europe.
Donate to TOL!

× Learn more
No, thanks Photo: Abbas Atilay
back  |  printBookmark and Share

Governors’ Resignations Part of ‘Rotation Process,’ Kremlin Says

Regional heads are stepping down as the country gears for elections later this year.

17 February 2017

What’s behind the mass resignations of Russian governors that has seen five regional heads step down in recent days, with more expected?


While a Kremlin spokesman cautioned against speculation over “any behind-the-scenes activities,” the U.S. government-run RFE/RL surmises the resignations came at the request of the Kremlin itself.


Meduza suggests the gubernatorial carousel is nothing unusual, considering that regional elections are coming up in September.


Meduza’s piece came out after the heads of the Perm, Buryatia, and Novgorod regions submitted their resignations between 6 and 13 February. The predicted departures of the Karelia and Ryazan governors came on 14 and 15 February. Russian media also predict the resignations of the Ivanovo and Sverdlovsk governors.


On Tuesday Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov (pictured) said the resignations were part of “an ordinary rotation process," TASS reported.


Each of the governors said he took the decision to resign on his own initiative, Peskov said.


"Why is this happening in a synchronized manner? I will repeat it once again: this is a rotation process, there is an electoral calendar, and everyone has been calibrating their plans according to this calendar at their own discretion.”

“The Kremlin has no electoral calendar so far," he insisted.

It is established practice for regional heads to resign ahead of elections to give emerging candidates an opportunity to prove themselves before facing the voters, Meduza writes.



  • Direct election of governors was restored in 2012, ending a seven-year period when they were chosen by regional legislatures from nominees put forward by the president. A law of 2015 restricted governors to two terms of five years each, but several of the departing governors were eligible to run again. 


  • “The five governors' resignations are widely believed to have been submitted at the request of the Kremlin, which oversees political processes nationwide,” RFE says, adding that this fall’s elections will be the last before the presidential election in March 2018, when Putin is widely expected to run for a fourth term.


  • Putin won the power to nominate governors as a security measure in the wake of the 2004 Beslan school massacre.

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

back  |  printBookmark and Share


Moldovan diaries

The Moldovan Diaries is a multimedia, interactive examination of the country's ethnic, religious, social and political identities by Paolo Paterlini and Cesare De Giglio.

This innovative approach to story telling gives voice to ordinary people and takes the reader on the virtual trip across Moldovan rural and urban landscapes. 

It is a unique and intimate map of the nation.


© Transitions Online 2017. All rights reserved. ISSN 1214-1615
Published by Transitions o.s., Baranova 33, 130 00 Prague 3, Czech Republic.