On Tuesday Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev accepted an early resignation of the Maritime Territory’s Governor Sergei Darkin, who had been managing the region for over a decade. Chancellor of the Far East federal university Vladimir Miklushevsky was appointed acting governor.
The Kommersant’s source close to the presidential administration said the major role in dismissal of the governor belonged to the first deputy of the presidential administration Vyacheslav Volodin. Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, who topped the regional list of United Russia during the parliamentary elections and who “was very displeased” with the governor also supported the resignation.
The opposition of the Maritime Territory welcomed the resignation of the governor, the newspaper writes. “Darkin’s resignation has been ripe for quite a time,” a deputy of the regional legislature Vladimir Bespalov /CPRF/ said. “The locals complain about the high level of corruption, prices; and by having started staff purges the power is trying to smooth the indignation, to raise support for candidate Putin,” coordinator of the regional branch of LDPR Evgeny Zotov said. A source in United Russia also explained the resignation of Mister Darkin with a “storm of corruption” in the region.
Kommersant writes that in May of 2008 during investigation into a criminal case on illegal alienation of state property in the Maritime Territory Darkin was questioned and searches were conducted in his residence and office.
A political scientist Viktor Burlakov supposes Sergei Darkin’s resignation had several reasons – a high level of corruption in the region, low score of United Russia at the elections to the State Duma on December 4 /32.99 percent of the vote/, and by “the clumsy agitation campaign for Putin.” A political scientist Alexander Kynev is sure Sergei Darkin’s resignation is “a demonstration to the residents of fighting corruption, and to officials of various levels – a reminder about the necessary result on March 4.”
There is an impression that the news about resignation came out of blue sky for Sergei Darkin, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. Back on February 25 the local radio station broadcasted his speech and jokes about the role of women in the modern world. Deputy President of the Centre for Political Technologies Rostislav Turovsky expresses a view that the resignation is an “unprecedented event.” “It is not correct to fire a governor right on the eve of the election – this has never happened before. In the present context, this is made for the only reason – the current power would like to remove most regions from the influence of the future law on elections. And, thus, to make a decision about an appointment of governors in several key regions – until the regions start electing those.”
It was a “clearing” of regions from governors long at power and whose influence is to be weakened before implementation of direct elections, the RBC daily refers to a high-ranking source in the Kremlin commenting on the resignation of the Maritime Territory’s Governor Sergei Darkin, which happened on Tuesday. A decisive combination of factors caused the decision: Darkin’s low popularity with the residents, United Russia’s weak result, and corruption. The Kremlin is not preparing any new resignations, the president’s Press Secretary Natalia Timakova assured reporters.
Moskovsky Komsomolets writes that it became clear that days of the Maritime Territory’s governor are numbered immediately after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s Q&A session with the nation late past year. During the broadcast, an entrepreneur from Vladivostok claimed “the local officials line their own pockets at the expense of us, businesses.” After that he asked: “For how long with Governor Darkin keep the position?” The prime minister replied saying he knew the problem and promised it “would be addressed in future.” And exactly on the eve of that indicative television dialogue the “pride of the APEC summit” in Vladivostok, a bridge across the Zolotoi Rog burned down.