What to Expect in Russia’s Gubernatorial Elections

  • Gubernatorial elections will be held in September.
  • One of the candidates is former FSB.
  • Russia had earlier protests in Khabarovsk.

September will be a busy month in Russia. As of late, a majority of the eastern bloc’s focus has been on the situation in the Belarus after the election. This September, there will be gubernatorial elections in Russia. This year, the only notable unrest in Russia was earlier this summer, in Khabarovsk.

Khabarovsk Krai is a federal subject (a krai) of Russia. It is geographically located in the Far East region of the country and is a part of the Far Eastern Federal District.

The story made the international news and headlines. However, it was overshadowed by the Coronavirus pandemic. The Governor of Khabarovsk was extradited to Moscow and charged with involvement in two murders almost 20 years ago. It was politically staged events.

Sergei Furgal is from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), and took a strong stance against the Kremlin-style corruption in the region. Hence, the Kremlin made sure he was removed and silenced. The protests followed, but were quickly disbursed. It did not last very long.

The new, interim governor, appointed until the election, is also from the LDPR party. At the same time, it is highly likely that the election is purely a formality. The Kremlin crew already knows, who is a “useful idiot,” and a tool that is needed to be elected to make it easier for Putin’s United Russia Party.

There is an interning biography of one of the candidates from the Irkutsk Oblast. The leading candidate for governor of Irkutsk is from the Communist Party, Mikhail Schapov. A Communist leading in Siberia— where a majority of those with anti-Stalin views ended up exiled during the Soviet Era— might seem a little strange. However, Communist Sergey Levchenko also governed the Oblast from 2015-19.

Who is Mikhail Schapov?  

Irkutsk Oblast is a federal subject of Russia (an oblast), located in southeastern Siberia in the basins of the Angara, Lena, and Nizhnyaya Tunguska Rivers. The administrative center is the city of Irkutsk.

The son of a KGB/FSB employee who served in the “Office” for 25 years. Schapov, by his own admission, was supported by his father to join the FSB. He graduated from the Institute for Retraining and Advanced Training of the FSB in Russia (Novosibirsk) in 1999. Then, he worked for 10 years in the FSB earning promotion to Lieutenant Colonel.

Schapov was elected as a deputy to the Legislative Assembly of Irkutsk Oblast in 2013, then in 2016 as a deputy to the Russian State Duma.

That is where Putin differs from Lukashenko. The Communist, Schapov, is leading and not from the United Russia Party. Yet, given his background, he will be pro-Kremlin. Nevertheless, for the populous he is an opposition candidate.

He also made a s statement in 2020, on the program “Capital Conversation”:

“Since the service is my first job, my first life education. Of course, I am formed in this environment. And I understand the interests of the system at my fingertips. When making the last decision, I will be on the side of the state, if this can be formulated.”

What does it mean, since Khabarovsk and Irkutsk will get an “opposition” governor elected? It means that Russia does not change.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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