New governor reshuffles regional power

From a political demonstration in Arkhangelsk. Photo: Andrey Shalyov

The new government team in Arkhangelsk includes a mix of former federal officials, United Russia reprentatives, FSB agents and shipbuilding engineers.


Igor Orlov, who in early February was appointed new Arkhangelsk Governor, this week announced the members of his cabinet.

Orlov also appointed a new senator, the region’s representative in the upper house of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council. The post will be held by 35-years old Konstantin Dobrynin, a former Deputy Director of the Ilim Pulp company and also a representative of the United People’s Front. Dobrynin replaces Nikolai Lvov, who has held the post since 2008, a press release from the regional administration reads.

The right hand of Governor Orlov and chief of staff will be Aleksandr Kostomarov, who comes from a high post in the Moscow headquarters of the United Russia party. He will lead a team of deputy governors.

Among them will be Aleksey Grishkov, who will serve as head of regional finances and economy. He comes from a high post in the federal Accounts Chamber, informs. Infrastructure developments will be headed by Aleksey Alfusyev, who comes from the post as head engineer in the powerful Sevmash yard.

Sergey Kovalyov will be responsible for regional policies and municipal affairs. According to, Kovalyov has since 2001 headed the regional Department on Information and Public Relations.

The only female deputy governor will be Lyudmila Kononova, who will be in charge of social issues. She was until now chair of the Arkhangelsk City Duma.

However, the probably most intriguing appointment in the new regional government is the one of Roman Balashov, who becomes Deputy Governor in charge of the Solovki, the picturesque and historically unique archipelago in the White Sea. Roman Balashov, the by far longest serving member of the new cabinet, was part of the regional administration already in 2005, then under Governor Nikolai Kiselyov. Over the last years Balashov has served as Chief of Staff under former Governor Ilya Mikhalchuk. His reappointment seems to be a climb down the career ladder, but the new post might as a matter of fact be one of major significance. As reported by, several billion rubles of federal allocations are over the next few years to be invested in the archipelago, both in tourist facilities and the preservance of the historically important local sites.

Balashov is widely believed to have a background from the FSB.