The Kremlin is reportedly planning to put forward its own candidates in the gubernatorial elections set to take place in several dozen regions this coming autumn. According to a newspaper report, the Kremlin’s candidates will for the most part consist of high-ranking officers from the military and security services who are approaching retirement age. In Voronezh Oblast, for example, the Kremlin is staking on General Vladimir Kulakov, the 56-year-old head of the oblast branch of the Federal Security Service (FSB). Kulakov is reportedly a protege of another KGB veteran–Georgy Poltavchenko, who is President Vladimir Putin’s representative in the Central federal district, one of seven federal districts created earlier this year by presidential decree. The Kremlin also reportedly plans to put forward Admiral Vladimir Yegorov, the 62-year-old head of the Baltic Fleet, as its candidate for the governor of Kaliningrad, where elections are set for November (Segodnya, August 1).
The Kremlin’s plans to put in place new governors closely connected to the “power structures” appears to be another step in Putin’s plans to bring Russia’s regions to heel and to centralize the country’s political life. A majority of his representatives in the newly created federal districts are connected with the armed forces or security services. In addition, Putin yesterday signed a decree ordering the creation within two months of new district sub-units of the Interior Ministry. The interior minister will submit the names of candidates to head these new Interior Ministry subdivisions, but the president will have the last word on the nominations. The Security Council, the powerful Kremlin advisory body headed by Sergei Ivanov, a long-time associate of the president and a fellow KGB veteran, has been ordered to oversee the implementation of the decree (Russian agencies, July 21).
MASKHADOV ASSOCIATE REPORTEDLY KILLED IN SHOOT-OUT WITH POLICE.