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MOSCOW, September 7 (Itar-Tass) —— The most large-scale replacement of official representatives of the President in the federal districts took place on Tuesday: President Dmitry Medvedev appointed three official representatives to replace the previous ones. So, the Kremlin started preparations for the parliamentary and presidential elections. Besides, it is quite probable that those appointments will set the beginning of the reforming of the institution of official representatives.
The most important of the personnel changes was the appointment of Oleg Govorun, head of the domestic policy department in the presidential administration, to the post of official representative in the Central Federal District, The Kommersant believes. The management of the North Western Federal District was also reinforced. Ilya Klebanov was replaced in that problem district by Nikolai Vinnichenko, official representative in the Urals Federal District. His assistant Evgeny Kuivashev will take up his post in the Urals.
Sources of The Kommersant in the presidential administration report that the new appointment of Oleg Govorun was not a demotion, but a special task. Govorun is fulfilling a special task of Medvedev. It is very important to put into effect the plan of the expansion of Moscow without revolutions, and Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin will find it difficult to do it alone. Another source explained that since “Putin’s man” became the mayor of Moscow, Govorun seems to be the man of Medvedev.” In the opinion of the source, the appointment of Vinnichenko follows the same logic: he is to provide counter-balance to “Putin’s governor” in the North Western Federal District.
Dmitry Orlov, director-general of the Agency of Political and Economic Communications, believes that the main reason for the personnel changes was “the need for the personnel rotation, primarily the replacement of Klebanov,” because he showed inertia in the management of the North Western Federal District. The support given to the United Russia (UR) Party in Moscow and St.Petersburg is lower by far that the average figures for Russia. “This shows that the Central and North Western Federal Districts are the most problem regions from the point of view of the coming elections,” said Mikhail Vinogradov, head of the St.Petersburg Policy Foundation.
Klebanov was replaced on his post by Nikolai Vinnichenko, a friend and fellow student of Medvedev, whose career began to steadily go up during the presidency of Putin and later Medvedev, RBK Daily writes. Stanislaw Belkovsky, head of the Institute of National Strategy, is sure that the appointment of Vinnichenko will tighten direct control of Moscow over the North Western Federal District and St.Petersburg. “The appointment showed once again that the strong governor, no matter what his inclinations are, is being replaced by a weak governor, who will be under the direct control of the federal centre. The control will be exercised by Vinnichenko, a long-time friend of President Medvedev,” Belkovsky believes.
The promotion of Oleg Govorun, head of the domestic policy department in the presidential administration, to the level of official representative in the Central Federal District, was the most mysterious one, RBK Daily believes. Sources of RBK Daily admitted that the appointment came unexpected even for officials from the presidential administration. At the same time, they praised the new official representative for his “adequate conduct and experience.”