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Kovtun rated least business friendly

Murmansk governor Marina Kovtun.

Russia’s first ranking of governors’ friendliness towards local businesses is not good reading for Murmansk.

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Murmansk governor Marina Kovtun is rated most “unfriendly” of all Russia’s 83 governors. The list is compiled by Russia’s Social Opinion Research Laboratory. The rating is based on surveys of businesspeople from the different federal subjects, the number of lawsuits brought against regional authorities and other indicators. 

Following Kovtun on the worst performers list is Alexei Orlov in Kalmykia and Yury Berg in Orenburg. The governors of Tatarstan and Kaliningrad top the list in the survey. The survey is referred in the blog RussianGovernors.com.

Marina Kovtun was appointed by then-President Dmitri Medveded to the governor post in April 2012. She has a background from the powerful Norilsk-Nickel combine that operates both mines and smelters at three different locations Nikel, Zapolyarny and Monchegorsk on the Kola Peninsula. 

Ilya Lushnikov, an expert with the Social Opinion Research Laboratory, explains why Marina Kovtun is the worst performer among all governors.

“Our research in the Murmansk region shows that local businesspeople think the governor is totally uninterested in developing local business,” Lushinkov says to The Moscow Times.

To the blog post RussianGovernors Lushinkov explains Kovtun’s bottom ranking with the fact that she is considered a representative of big business and, accordingly represents the interests of a particular financial group.  

“Moreover Kovtun is among the governors named the most in lawsuits and is involved in a range of business disputes, so it’s unsurprising that Murmansk took last place on the list despite the fact that it’s a major transport hub and has excellent prospects,” says Ilya Lushnikov.

Marina Kovtun was born in Murmansk in 1962 and has lived and worked in the region all her life. In December 2011 she was elected to the Murmansk Regional Duma, where she took position as First Deputy Speaker and also became head of United Russia’s fraction.