Vladimir Putin at a meeting of the Council of Legislators may express his attitude towards the possible abolition of direct elections of governors. According to RBC sources, among the options are the temporary cancellation of direct elections and the transfer of elections to legislative assemblies

On Wednesday, April 27, a meeting of the Council of Legislators will be held in St. Petersburg, in which President Vladimir Putin will take part. The Council of Legislators includes the speakers of the State Duma and the Federation Council, their deputies, heads of committees of both chambers of parliament, speakers of legislative assemblies of the regions.

At a council meeting, they can discuss the format in which elections should be held this year on the Single Voting Day, and whether they should be held at all. The President may express his opinion on this matter. RBC was told about this by three sources familiar with the discussion of the issue.

Today, it is highly likely that direct gubernatorial elections may be canceled, and the regions will be able to switch to elections through legislative assemblies, all RBC interlocutors said. One of them clarifies that we are talking about the possible cancellation of all direct gubernatorial campaigns this year, and what will happen in the future— dont clear. Another interlocutor confirms: “Direct gubernatorial elections [most likely] will be cancelled.” When asked if it was only this year's campaigns or a return to the practice of “indirect” elections as a whole, he did not answer.

There is also a possibility that, formally, the governors will be asked to decide on the format of the elections at their discretion, but de facto they recommend canceling direct campaigns, one of RBC's sources notes.

Direct gubernatorial elections were already abolished in Russia in 2004. Then a new model appeared: on the proposal of the president, the candidacy of the head of the region was approved by the deputies of legislative assemblies. In 2012, direct elections were returned. However, in most national republics, the model of electing the head of the region through legislative assemblies is still preserved. Such a scheme is also used in the “matryoshka” regions: Khanty-Mansiysk, Yamalo-Nenets and Nenets Autonomous Okrugs, which, in turn, are part of the Tyumen and Arkhangelsk regions, respectively.

The fact that The Kremlin is discussing the possibility of canceling direct gubernatorial elections, Meduza previously reported. (recognized by the Ministry of Justice as a foreign agent) and Kommersant.

There is also a high probability that the elections to the legislative assemblies of the regions and city dumas will be postponed, the interlocutors of RBC said. According to two of them, it could either be postponed to 2023 or 2024, when presidential elections are scheduled in Russia.

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But the President will have to make the final decision.

A possible reason why such decisions might be made is — fears from the federal center that by September, when Russia's Single Voting Day takes place, citizens may feel more of the effects of the sanctions, two sources said. At present, the authorities' ratings are high, but it is difficult to predict what will happen by the fall, one of them explains.

According to another source, there are also financial considerations— abolishing direct gubernatorial elections would save campaign funds.

Fourteen regions are currently scheduled to have direct elections scheduled for September 2022 Single Election Day. In another one, Adygea, the head is elected by the deputies.

Elections to legislative assemblies of six regions and eleven city dumas are also to be held.

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Vladimir Putin

Politician, President of Russia

October 7, 1952

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