Why Are Bandit Governors Being Removed Only Now, And Not 10-15 Years Ago?

“Hello, Vladimir Vladimirovich.”

“Yes, I’m listening.”

“The security forces received information that the Khabarovsk Governor is a criminal with ties to the criminal world. What should we do?”

How would you personally answer this question as President? Of course, I want to tear my shirt and shout: “Jail him, of course! Once he’s found guilty!”

But it seems to me that not everything is so simple in such situations. The answer will depend on the specific stage of development of the state and the tasks assigned to it.

No matter how cynical and disgusting it may sound, but sometimes the state needs such “bandit governors” and it is definitely not worth jailing them in packs.

Stop throwing tomatoes at me and let me explain my position a little. And this position, by the way, is similar to what I described in the article about bullying.

20 years ago, when our army was “forgotten by God” and attention wasn’t paid to it, bullying was a convenient way to manage military personnel.

The commanders did not really fight with it, because the army did not have any specific combat missions. The soldiers only had to paint the fences and skilfully clean the snow. Bullying not only did not interfere with this, but even helped, removing the burden from officers on senior soldiers and sergeants (“grandfathers”).

Later, when Russia needed an effective and modern army capable of conducting operations such as in Crimea and Syria, bullying, if not eradicated to zero, then reduced simply by an order of magnitude.

The state started to invest trillions in the army, which means that it started to demand efficiency and a progressive management system. Bullying didn’t fit into this model.

It’s about the same with governors.

15-20 years ago, Russia was just being pieced together. Back then there was no task as developing the regions. The goal was more primitive – to keep all regions within the Russian Federation and subordinate them to a single centre (to build a vertical of power).

This required controlled and loyal local elites. In each region, the loyalty of the elites was achieved by different methods, but I am sure there was also such a method as “having kompromat on the head of the region”.

Yes, this article is just my guess.

A version, hypothesis, personal opinion. It may not be true, but it’s worth thinking about.

In the early 2000s, the regions were not given any super-tasks and money was not invested in them (for example, in the army, one only needed to paint fences and march on the parade ground), and therefore the “bandit Governor” was more than convenient:

  • He was controlled from the centre;
  • He could hold the region in his fist and prevent separatism;

I.e., roughly speaking, the unspoken agreement with the Governor was: “We won’t touch you, and you’ll give us a 100% guarantee that you will not have any mood for secession and riots in the region.”

In addition, it seems to me that it was simply impossible to have a Governor who wasn’t a bandit in those days. Various organised crime groups and criminal authorities would hardly allow a “stranger” to manage financial flows.

We remember how the non-bandits Evdokimov (the head of the Altai Territory) and Lebed (the head of the Krasnoyarsk Territory) ended up. There is no doubt that if 39-year-old Degtyarev had been bluntly sent from Moscow to Khabarovsk in 2000, he would not have lasted long there. Most likely, he would not have held out in this world as a whole.

So, at the initial stage, Moscow had this task:

  • Get rid of all separatist tendencies and to subordinate the local elite;
  • Have a way to influence local criminal groups (through the same governors);

Then, after getting a breather in 10-15 years, Moscow methodically and without much noise fought against organised criminal groups, reducing their influence by several orders of magnitude.

Also, during this period, Moscow built a vertical of power and strengthened the rule of law, strengthened the army, the FSB, and other power structures.

As a result, the moment finally came when no organised criminal groups could show resistance to any decision made by Moscow.

Even the appointment of a 39-year-old Muscovite as head of one of the most criminal (in the past) regions of the Russian Federation. Or the appointment of the Muscovite Vasiliev as the head of Dagestan (!).

It is at this stage that it became possible to invest trillions of rubles in the regions, which we are now seeing. Investing them earlier, of course, did not make any sense.

After all, why invest in the Khabarovsk territory, if local organized crime groups will steal everything and there will be no real benefit from investment? It’s like putting wallpaper on rotten walls.

Yes. As sad as it may sound for all of us, “big salaries and pensions like in Europe” are wallpaper that is glued to filler, which is smeared on the wall, and the wall is put on the foundation.

In 2000, we didn’t even have a solid foundation. I.e., we didn’t have one at all:

  • At least elementary law and order;
  • Effective army and security forces
  • An effective financial and tax system
  • Good macroeconomic indicators (low inflation, unemployment, large gold reserves, small debt, sufficient GDP per capita, etc.)

Now that all this has been built, it’s possible to “glue the wallpaper”, i.e., move to investment within the country, in the regions.

It is here that we need a real Governor and not one just driven by bandits. Furgal is not the first “assistant” in this process. And he’s definitely not the last one.

In general, interesting times are waiting for us, comrades. I don’t doubt it a bit.

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