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Most Russian citizens want to elect their governors independently, the Kommersant daily reported. The residents of all federal districts, including Southern and North Caucasus Federal Districts, want to elect heads of their regions, the sociological Levada Centre found out. However, “people can do without elections in exchange for some pledges,” the sociologists believe.
The bill, which will permit the regions to cancel direct elections of the heads of Russian federal constituents, has already passed the first reading in the State Duma, the newspaper recalled. The main argument in favour of the bill is to keep “stability and inter-ethnic peace” in the regions, primarily in the southern republics.
However, the January sociological survey of the Levada Centre showed (the sociological survey involved 1,600 people from 45 Russian regions) those people who want to refuse from direct gubernatorial elections are in minority. 21% of respondents supported the actual comeback to the appointment of governors, 68% want to elect the heads of the regions independently. Meanwhile, the supporters of direct elections prevail in all federal districts: 59% in Southern and North Caucasus Federal Districts, 63% in the Volga Federal District, 68% in the Siberian Federal District and 69% of pollsters in the Ural Federal District. People want the appointed governors again at the least extent in Central Russia and the Far East. 74% and 80% of respondents support the gubernatorial elections in these territories, respectively.
“Without any psychological pressure the respondents prefer direct elections to the appointments by the president everywhere,” Levada Centre deputy director Alexei Grazhdankin told the Kommersant daily. “But this question, as all other political problems, is not essential for the majority. People want direct elections, but they can do without them in exchange for some pledges,” he said.
Meanwhile, Russian governmental plenipotentiary representative in the high courts Mikhail Barshchevsky stated at a meeting of the Free Rostrum on Thursday that it is impermissible to introduce different types of gubernatorial elections on the territory of one country, “If we acknowledge that “elections” of governors are possible in a concrete region as a special instance, why not to elect deputies in the special way, why not to elect the president in the special way or to introduce the Shariat laws there?” This contradicts the Russian Constitution and “violates the common space of the country,” Barshchevsky underlined.