Long farewell: why the head of Mari El is being rushed to resign

In one day, the head of Mari El, Alexander Evstifeev, hit the top news twice due to his resignation.

Yesterday, February 10, late in the evening, news channels exploded with the news of the resignation of the head of Mari El, Alexander Evstifeev, and this morning it was refuted, the correspondent reports . MorningNews.

On the eve of RBC, citing its sources familiar with the situation, posted the news that the head of Mari El decided to resign. Today, the original news on the site could no longer be found. Instead, a more detailed text appeared under the same heading, telling why Evstifeev would not run. for a second term this year.

Early in the morning, Oksana Nikulina, press secretary of the Mari governor, sent out a refutation of her leader’s resignation.

“Of course, all this is not true. Alexander Aleksandrovich is included in the councils, which include only a few governors of the Russian Federation. Yesterday there was a meeting in the presidential administration dedicated to the development of local self-government. He was one of the few participants there,” the spokeswoman said.

In support of these words, Evstifeev’s press service supplemented the press release with data stating that “the construction of social institutions continues in the republic, national projects and an individual program for the socio-economic development of the region are being implemented with the support of the Russian government, all necessary measures are being taken to combat covid: The regional Ministry of Health has again received an additional 10 million rubles for the purchase of express tests.”

The head of Mari El, Alexander Evstifeev, did not manage to distinguish himself in this post

However, it was not difficult for meticulous journalists to delve into databases and simply in the news to find out that things are not so rosy in Mari El.

According to the same publication RBC, The Republic of Mari El is among the most sparsely populated regions of Russia: as of January 1, 2022, about 670 thousand people lived there, according to Rosstat. The republic accounts for 0.2% of the total gross regional product (GRP) of all Russian regions. The economy of Mari El is mainly dependent on manufacturing (26% of GRP) and agriculture (18%), while there is almost no mining in the republic.

Across Russia, industrial production increased by 5.3% in 2021, but in the Republic of Mari El, the industrial production index decreased by 1.3%. The average nominal salary in January-November 2021 was 34.6 thousand rubles. (compared to the all-Russian indicator of 54.6 thousand rubles). The unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2021 was 4.4%, almost at the level of the whole of Russia (4.3%).

Among the reasons that could serve as reasons for the resignation (or unwillingness to run for another term) of the head of the region, Alexander Evstifeev, his age is also striking – 63 years old. He won the election of the head of the region in 2017 with a score of 88.3%, but since then he has not been noticed particularly outstanding achievements in the governor’s post. This was pointed out by the authors “Version”.

The second weighty reason for the possible resignation of the head of Mari El, according to RBC, may be the personal decision of the head of the region, this was pointed out by three interlocutors of RBC at once. “He absolutely does not want [продолжать работу на губернаторском посту]“, — said one of the sources.

Journalists from many publications sent inquiries to the press service of the head of Mari El, and the answer to them, perhaps, can be the morning commentary of Evstifeev’s press service.

RBC sources called Evstifeev a person close to the first deputy head of the presidential administration, Sergei Kiriyenko. In 2000-2002, he served as deputy plenipotentiary representative of the president in the Volga Federal District, Kiriyenko was the plenipotentiary at that time. Later, Evstifeev was a senator from the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, then chairman of the Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeal, professor at the Department of International Private Law of the Saratov State Academy. Prior to his appointment to the post of Acting Head of Mari El, Evstifeev served as Chairman of the Arbitration Court of the Moscow Region.

“Mari El is a poor region with vague prospects. Nobody managed to create a power vertical in it due to the lack of strong leaders,” says regional policy expert Rostislav Turovsky.

Meanwhile, according to RBC sources, back in late summer or early autumn, there was a scenario in which the region could be handed over to the Communist Party, which traditionally has strong positions in Mari El. Following the results of the elections to the State Duma, the republic became one of the four regions where the communists bypassed United Russia on the lists, gaining 36.3% against 33.4% of United Russia. The communist Sergei Kazankov, the son of the head of the regional branch of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the director of the Zvenigovsky state farm and one of the sponsors of the party, Ivan Kazankov, passed through a single-mandate district to the Duma in the republic.

At the same time, a source in the Communist Party of the Russian Federation told RBC that “nobody has come forward with such proposals to the leadership of the party and, in general, such a scenario seems” doubtful “.