Two Russian Governors to Be Sacked

The governors of the Russian regions of Murmansk and Tomsk, where the ruling United Russia party showed a poor performance during December’s parliamentary elections, are expected to be dismissed before the March presidential race, the Vedomosti business daily newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The governor of the Murmansk region, Dmitry Dmitrienko, has already written a letter of resignation, Vedomosti quoted an unknown Kremlin official and member of the ruling party as saying.

On January 10, during his meeting with governors, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that the Arkhangelsk, Volgograd and Murmansk regions showed “a very, very poor effort.” Soon after Putin’s comment the governors of Arkhangelsk and Volgograd filed their resignation.

The Murmansk region, which Dmitrienko headed since 2009, brought only 32 percent of the vote to the Putin-led United Russia party compared to 56 percent at the previous elections in 2007.

Dmitrienko’s spokesman said he did not know if his boss had written the resignation letter or not, Vedomosti said.

Another governor, Viktor Kress, 64, who has headed the Tomsk region for over 20 years, is also expected to resign, mainly because of his lengthy tenure, the Kremlin official told Vedomosti.

Kress’s dismissal is being discussed with presidential staff but the decision has not been made yet, a regional official told the paper.

The Tomsk region showed relatively poor results for the United Russia party during December’s polls, winning just 37 percent of the vote.

Earlier on Monday Putin pledged far-reaching personnel changes in the Russian government after the March 4 presidential elections.

Putin is seeking to return to the Kremlin after being barred by the constitution from standing for a third consecutive term in 2008. State-run pollster VTsIOM indicated last week that his support among voters had risen from 45 percent earlier this month to 52 percent, just enough to give him victory in the first round of the elections.

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