Russian city mayors dismissed

Over the last eight months more than 40 Russian town mayors have been forced to leave their posts. -We now see a new campaign against the elected leaders of municipalities, a researcher says.

-Every three day, a municipal leader in Russia is dismissed, Head of the Centre of Political Conjuncture, Mr. Mikhail Vinogradov says to newspaper Izvestia. He believes the dismissals are not based in the interference from the federal level of power, but rather in conflicts on the municipal and regional level.

The increasing problems for the municipal leaders come as Russia prepares for the implementation of a wide-reaching municipal reform from 1 January 2009. The conflicts might be a sign of regional authorities seeking to consolidate power and control of the locals ahead of the reform, Izvestia writes in its issue of 30 August.

Among the better known cases of conflict in municipal politics is the arrest and subsequent dismissal of Arkhangelsk city mayor Aleksandr Donskoy. The disgraced city leader said he had done nothing wrong and that it all was a campaign against him initiated by then regional Governor Nikolay Kiselyov.