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Kaliningrad protests 'tip of iceberg' for governor leaving post - pundit RIA-Novosti | Aug. 17, 2010 | JRL 2010-154-8 - JRL Home

Georgy BoosMoscow, 16 August: The unpopularity of ruling Kaliningrad Region governor Georgiy Boos among the population and the local elite, and problems of the region's development were the key reasons why his candidacy was not put forward for a new term, political scientists surveyed by RIA Novosti have said. (Passage omitted)

"The decision not to put forward Boos's candidacy was not solely due to the protests which took place in Kaliningrad and they have actually even been half forgotten. On the whole Boos turned out to be quite a weak leader: in his years as governor he did not manage either to overpower the opposition or come to an agreement with them," political scientist and Public Chamber member Vitaliy Ivanov told RIA Novosti.

He added that the protests which took place in Kaliningrad in December 2009 and January 2010 when masses of people expressed their dissatisfaction with the authorities' economic policies and notably the increase in the transport tax were not the main reason for his dismissal. "That was the tip of the iceberg, but the main problem there was the unconsolidated elite. The large number of influential figures who are hostile to the governor. He worked poorly with the elite," Ivanov noted.

Political scientist Dmitriy Orlov does not link Boos's failure to be put forward as a candidate with the protests either.

"Most of the sociological studies carried out in the region have shown that it is not only the extent of Boos' support among the public that was low, but he had a significant disapproval rating. Although he was an effective manager and the region changed significantly during his time as governor, it is obvious that with such significant unpopularity the political force in charge could not allow Boos to be reappointed," Orlov told RIA Novosti.

He said that a situation of "critical misunderstanding" had developed in the region, where the reasonably effective manager Boos could not establish a dialogue with the people, and the population did not accept the policies which he put forward.

"Cases of governors not being given the opportunity to work for a second or third term are quite rare. As a rule, if there are no major problems, governors are more often than not put forward. If they are not reappointed, then consequently there are serious grievances towards his work and the situation in the region," political scientist Dmitriy Badovskiy has said.

"The events which took place there (the rallies) played their role, but it is not only a matter of the protests. If protests like these emerge and a situation like that arises, this is a symptom of there being problems with the development of the region as a whole," he added.

All the surveyed political scientists think that Boos will receive an offer to move to working on the federal level, however they are not going to try to predict what sector he will be given work in.

"Boos has significant experience of working on both the federal and regional levels. He will be in demand. Not being reappointed as Kaliningrad governor is not a shameful dismissal for Boos, because his experience and abilities will be in demand in senior posts on the federal level," Orlov said.

In his view, in terms of the new Kaliningrad Region governor, "Mr. (secretary of One Russia's regional political council in Kaliningrad Region Nikolay) Tsukanov is the most likely".

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