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Institute of presidential plenipotentiary representatives may be abolished

September 13, 2011, 12:40 UTC+3

The reshuffles can hardly be taken out of the pre-election context

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MOSCOW, September 13 (Itar-Tass) — The institute of RF president’s plenipotentiary representatives in federal districts may be abolished, writes Novye Izvestiya. The article was written in connection with a recent rotation that Dmitry Medvedev made among the envoys: the officials have been replaced in three federal districts – the Central, Ural and North-West.

The reshuffles can hardly be taken out of the pre-election context, the publication believes. “The election rotation has started, and on the positions of the envoys that traditionally control the electoral process, people who can technologically do it have been placed,” the newspaper quoted Director General of the Political Information Centre Alexei Mukhin.

In 2000, when the post of plenipotentiary representative was just introduced, there was much talk that new federal officials with super powers and a huge zone of influence would appear in Russia, but this has not happened. “Because from the very beginning the envoys had no constitutional powers, and they were perceived as members of the presidential administration, who have no right to command by directive the activities of the governors whose authority is clearly laid down in the Constitution,” political scientist Dmitry Oreshkin explains the reasons for this.

Experts believe that the recent strengthening of the institute of plenipotentiary envoys made by the president is a kind of overture that precedes its weakening and possibly elimination.

“Plenipotentiaries were needed as long as the governors were elected, a control bureaucratic layer between the federal government and governors was needed. When the heads of the regions themselves are actually plenipotentiary envoys the need for this layer has disappeared,” President of the National Strategy Institute Stanislav Belkovsky says.

When electoral tasks are fulfilled, most likely there will be simply no sense in leaving the presidential representatives in the authority structure with completely loyal governors, the publication believes. Perhaps the only exception will be made for the North Caucasus Federal District owing to the nature of the situation in the region and the need to balance the influence of local elites at the heads of the republics with “the man from the centre.” Taking such a step would be very easy because the plenipotentiary envoys are not specified in the Constitution and the president has the right to decide the issue independently without coordination with the State Duma.

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