Vladimir Putin set to cancel top gubernatorial elections as Russia’s economic woes continue
Vladimir Putin is expected to cancel Russia’s top gubernatorial elections scheduled for this fall on Wednesday due to Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine, according to local media.
An unnamed Kremlin official told the Interfax news agency on Tuesday that it would be “unwise” to spend taxpayers’ money on political campaigns ahead of the September election, given the economic problems facing the country.
Russian newspaper Kommersant quoted strategists and officials from several regions on Tuesday confirming that they had not been hired for any of the potential regional campaigns this year and that they did not expect local elections to take place.
President Putin is expected to raise the issue in a meeting with Russian lawmakers on Wednesday. Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, said Tuesday he could not say whether the issue was on the agenda.
If the governors of the 89 regions of the country are not directly elected, it will be up to Putin’s ministers to appoint them.
Violation of the Russian constitution
The Vladimir region, just northeast of Moscow, could be the first Russian province to see this happen, with the local parliament due to vote this week on the issue.
This decision was widely criticized as blatantly violating the Russian Constitution.
Voting in Russia has been marred by widespread voter fraud and violations that have sparked massive street protests in the past, but powerful opposition candidates have nonetheless managed to win gubernatorial elections in recent years.
President Putin temporarily canceled Russian gubernatorial elections in 2004 after a series of deadly terrorist attacks, saying elections should be canceled to “prevent crisis situations”.
But gubernatorial elections were reintroduced in 2012 following large opposition protests against voter fraud.