A standoff between the governor and local legislators creates a stir in Murmansk politics
Despite the overwhelming control over regional politics of the United Russia Party, there is no smooth relationship between the levels of power in Russia’s Arctic capital.
On the 30th of November, the Murmansk City Council failed to approve regional governor Andrei Chibis’ candidate for new city manager.
Among the governor’s two candidates was Chibis’ own Deputy, Yuri Serdechkin, and Aleksei Lukichevich, both of them members of the United Russia.
A total of 16 votes was necessary for the election of a candidate. However, only seven council members cast their vote for Serdechkin and five for Lukichevich, the city council informs.
Consequently, the government of the Russian Arctic city with a population of 280,000 is managed by acting city manager Valentina Dotsnik.
The lack of obedience among the local legislators is not well perceived in the governor’s office.
In a comment to newspaper Kommersant, Andrei Chibis underlines that many of the council members are ‘irresponsible’. According to the newspaper, the United Russia Party is now keeping a close eye on the situation and is prepared to interfere ‘whenever needed.’
It is not the first time that the local city council puts up a fight with the regional governor. In September, Chibis actively lobbied the candidacy of his former education minister Olga Dzyuba to the post as city mayor.
However, the council wanted it otherwise and in late October turned down the candidacy.
The decision enraged Governor Chibis, who less than two hours after the vote turned up at the local parliament building.
“I will bring some reason to the indocile,” he told journalists.
Behind the opposition of the local legislators stands Aleksei Veller, the former City Mayor and now Member of the State Duma.
Veller underlines to Kommersant that he has nothing to do with the recent rejection of Chibis’ candidates for city manager. But at the same time, he openly admits that the two candidates were disapproved because of a lack of dialogue between the levels of power.
In a comment on Deputy Governor Yuri Serdechkin, Veller says that “this is not a person from Murmansk, he does not know local problems [and] his only merit is that is close to the governor.”
According to Veller, the city council is ready to compromise with regional authorities, but an agreement must be based on a “normal political dialogue.”