Report names and shames Russia's 'worst governors'

By bne IntelliNews March 30, 2015

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Following the sacking of Sakhalin regional governor Alexander Khoroshavin on graft charges, the Kremlin has released a report naming and shaming what it regards as Russia's worst regional governors as part of its ongoing campaign to clean up the country's administration.

Khoroshavin was arrested in March for allegedly taking a bribe of some $5mn, including accepting a pen worth over $600,000. A big part of Russia's reform programme currently consists of stamping out corruption, and the campaign has now moved to take on the regional elite.

The state-backed Civil Society Development Foundation think tank has rated Russia's 83 regional governors based on their economic performance. Alexander Drozdenko, the head of the Leningrad region surrounding St Petersburg, came in as the best manager. That stands in stark contrast to the bottom 10 placing of Georgy Poltavchenko, governor of the city of St Petersburg, one of only two cities that are regions in their own right (Moscow is the other).

Leningrad region has emerged as a major industrial and manufacturing hub thanks to its business-friendly administration, large local population (St Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia after Moscow) and proximity to both the capital and an international port.

Yevgeny Kuivashev, the head of the Sverdlovsk region located on the eastern slopes of the Ural Mountains, came in at the very bottom of the list. Kuivashev is currently under investigation for misuse of public funds earmarked for the region's development, reports Rossiiskaya Gazeta. The governors of the Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, Orlov and Primorye regions were all in the bottom five on the list.

Samara Governor Nikolai Merkushkin was named the second-worst administrator due to his failure to combat corruption in his region. Nizhny Novgorod Governor Valery Shantsev, a former deputy in the corrupt regime of ex-Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, came in third from the bottom because of a criminal investigation into his associate Oleg Kondrashov, the current mayor of Nizhny Novgorod.

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