Staunton, March 16 – Russia’s regional elites say that they do not have any influence on the political process but that they would like to, especially concerning policies that affect their particular regions, according to a new study prepared by Aleksey Kudrin’s Center for Strategic Development.
The study itself, “Russian Elites in 2016: Image of the Future and Points of Consensus,” was prepared at the Grushin Sociological Conference yesterday and have been summarized in today’s Vedomosti by Elena Mukhametshina (vedomosti.ru/politics/articles/2017/03/16/681386-regionalnie-eliti-politiki).
Kseniya Tkacheva, one of the co-authors of the report, says that the Kudrin Center divided Russian elites into three groups: “the strategic elite which can influence the political course, the veto elite which is able to adapt and correct the political course, and the administrative elite which can’t influence the political process but can help carry it out locally.”
“The regional elite,” she says, “belongs in the third group.” The center interviewed 84 members of the regional elites. A common theme, she continues, was that all of its members “spoke about the absence of dialogue, about the absence of cooperation, and about the fact that no one is proposing solutions to problems” or knows what “the rules of the game” will be.
Among the main challenges the members of the regional elite see are “the lack of clear rules of the game, restrictions on contacts between the regions and the center, the lack of interest in the center in the solution of the problems of the regions, insufficient investment, and the outflow of qualified cadres.”
Political scientist Yevgeny Minchenko says the regional elites would like to play a bigger role but that their role “has declined over recent years as a result of the appointment of governors, the reduction of financial resources, and the lowering of the significance of regional business groups.” Many are dissatisfied with the current situation, he adds.
And Mikhail Vinogradov, another political analyst, says that there is a desire on the part of regional elites to take responsibility for coming up with and implementing programs as long as they are in a position to help draft them and modify them locally as needed. But as of now, Moscow shows no interest in involving these elites in that way.