A stronger vertical power structure for Arkhangelsk?
Acting city Mayor of Arkhangelsk Viktor Pavlenko has appointed Yuri Shaulov as acting Vice Mayor for construction. The appointment is based on a recommendation from regional Governor Ilya Mikhalchuk. Yuri Shaulov comes from a post in the Russian presidential administration.
A new power structure with strict command lines between Moscow - federal subject- municipal unity might be in the making in Arkhangelsk Oblast.
The May 25th mayor’s elections in the city might mark the start of a new period for local politics.
-I have not been here for a long time, but I clearly see what first needs to be done, Mr. Shaulov said in a statement. -It will be the construction of new housing, the problem of dilapidated housing, gas supply and surveillance of construction grounds in the city, he added. He will also look for investors for city development, Bclass.ru reports.
Yuri Shaulov will be in charge of the local Department of City Planning.
Mr. Shaulov said to journalists that he quitted his job in the presidential administration and chose to be a Vice-Mayor because of a request from Ilya Mikhalchuk, his former colleague in Gazprom subsidiary ÎÀÎ Gazprom-Ipoteka.
Last week acting mayor Pavlenko presented several changes in his administration, among them the appointment of Yuri Shaulov as Vice Mayor for construction and Yury Pachin as Vice-mayor for Social Affairs
-I hope the deputies will understand the necessity of such changes. The current scheme hinders the efficient management of the city. Our main areas of concern are civil engineering and road maintenance and construction of housing, he said. He also maintained that administrative changes will not require additional administrative manpower.
The political game surrounding the mayor’s elections is coming to an end. Meanwhile, a rigid vertical power structure will be created according to the scheme “centre - federal subject - municipality”, the newspaper adds. Viktor Pavlenko is willing to team up with the Governor and Governor will get increased powers over the municipalities.
Political analyst Vadim Treskin believes this scenario eventually awaits all the regions of Russia, and not only Arkhangelsk Oblast. -As it is still against the law to appoint Mayors directly, it will be handled in a “roundabout way”, he said to the newspaper. He believes that Arkhangelsk must be considered a pilot region for a system with less election tensions.
- I do not view this process as undemocratic, in our split society elections do not consolidate people. After normal democratic elections all the main candidates agree with the results and continue to work in a team. This does still not work in this country, so it is better to know the winner before the election day, he said.
-What is going on in Arkhangelsk, - only further proves the fact that a vertical power structure in Russia is getting stronger, - said a deputy from the Arkhangelsk Oblast parliament Viktor Kazarinov.
He said that it was clear that the mayor elections would be scandalous already in December 2007 when “the country chose its development path”. Mr. Kazarinov stated that he sees no point in Governor Mikhalchuk’s actions. “I don’t see any point in setting up such a show with the candidates. There is a huge chance that in 6 months that all mayors will be appointed, and that the elected mayor will be replaced by someone else, - he concludes.