Liberal mayor booted from office
The people of Petrozavodsk, regional capital of Karelia, voted for change when they in early fall 2013 catapulted Galina Shirshina into the city mayor’s office.
Amid overwhelming pressure from the political establishment, the 32-year old psyciatrist and representative of the Yabloko Party won a convincing 42 percent of the votes.
Shirshina became one of few city mayors in Russia with a political stance in clear contrast with the line of the Kremlin.
The young mayor soon started an overhaul in local city management, which made her highly unpopular among political opponents, among them the United Russia Party and regional Governor.
Now, Governor Aleksandr Khudilainen and his allies appears to have got their will. In a confidence vote, the local Petrozavodsk City Council this week decided to oust the local leader. A total of 23 of the 26 council members supported Council Speaker Gennady Bondarchuk’s proposal to dismiss Shirshina.
The mayor has failed to meet her obligations on local management, Bondarchuk says in a press release from the Council. He especially argues that Shirshina has mismanaged road maintenance, the water sewage system, social welfare and garbage handling.
Shishina, however, rebuffs all accusations. In an interview with Meduza.io, she maintains that the dismissial is ordered by regional authorities.
”My dismissal is connected with the fact that the members of the City Council, the government, and the governor himself, have understood that it is simply impossible for them to deal with me”, she underlines.
My team will only work in line with the law […] I will only do what I consider good for the city, she adds.
The dismissed mayor gets full support from her Party colleagues. In a press release, Yabloko Party Leader Emiliya Slabunova says that ”an independent mayor who declines to be part of the grey vertical of officials, will never be approved by the governor”.
Sergey Mitrokhin, the former Yabloko leader and long-time State Duma representative, underlined to the party website that Shirshina has been ”one of the most efficient city mayors in all of modern Russia”.
As reported by 7x7-journal, the Petrozavodsk Mayor in December 2014 won the State Person of the Year, a prize awarded by information agency RBC.
Analysts now believe Shirshina could become a front figure for the liberal party in the upcoming 2016 State Duma elections.