This week the list of candidates for the governor of St. Petersburg job was finalized. One of the five will be chosen to head the city. This person will be in charge of it for the next 5 years. “Pulse of the city” political observer Dmitriy Runkov brings is this report on who the voters can choose between.
Current legislation is very strict on what can and what cannot be said during an election campaign. For instance, before the start of the agitation campaign – that is before August 16th – the media cannot give evaluations to the candidates. And we are not going to do that. We simply state the fact – the circle is now closed and no one can penetrate this list of 5.
Its worth mentioning that Oxana Genrikhovna Dmitrieva did not make that list. She failed to get the needed number of signatures from municipal deputies – she fell a little more than 40 signatures short. She had to get 156, but got 111. We can be sincerely sympathetic to Ms. Dmitrieva. But we can also ask ourselves a question – if she fell short by just a few dozen signatures, then it could probably mean the system is entirely at fault, isn’t it? Maybe the team did not do a good enough job? Failed to persuade, convince, grab, get her own way. Its often said that politics is a dirty business. And it probably is. But it is also a very difficult business too. Physically, in the first place. When you have to do a lot of real work, not just shouting at every corner how good and clean you are as opposed to bad and dirty others.
I wonder if that was the question Ms. Dmitrieva asked herself and her team? Although, it is hardly relevant now. The more acute now are the words of a hit song: “That’s it! Bets are made! Bets are made, gentlemen!”
Dmitriy Runkov, reporter: “This week, the city’s electoral commission published the final list of those participating in the election race, although we still cannot call them candidates. The media campaigning starts 28 days prior to the election – which means the mid-August. For now, using the word “candidate” is almost as strictly forbidden by law as the recent ban on using explicit words on television”
The number of those who cannot be named decreased from 7 to 5. The 1st – but only because of the timing of him receiving the document which cannot be named – is Andrey Petrov. The 37-year-old father to several children, former marine, now involved in energy business. He headed projects on building power stations in the Far Eastern outskirts, and he believes an ideal boss for St. Petersburg should be adventurous – able, for instance, to persuade big businesses to finance into re-settlement of communal flats and improving the depressive Obvodnoy canal district.
Andrey Petrov: “City-manager, governor, mayor – that’s a utilities man, who serves the provisional needs of the city. Goods security must be provided”
The status of “should not be named in the media” was also received by a retired serviceman. Takhir Bikbayev, general of the customs service, has lately been protecting the rights of small and medium businesses, rather than protecting the country’s financial interests at its borders. He believes the next governor should be a born and bred resident of St. Petersburg. So that all cities problems – from traffic jams to cues in hospitals – he had felt on his own skin at least once.
Takhir Bikbayev, head of board at small and medium businesses organization “Opora Rossii”: “The main thing a governor takes upon oneself is responsibility. He cant say that an order he gave was not fulfilled, a pipe was laid in a wrong place. Such responsibility comes with experience”
Born and bred Leningrad citizen Irina Ivanova will be the only female contender in a solid company of men. The women’s eye portrays an ideal governor as a head of a large family. Able to be forceful at times – as a father – and be flexible and humane at other times - as a mother.
Irina Ivanova, deputy of St. Petersburg’s Legislative Council: “It is decisiveness and force from one side, respect and humane touch from the other. Head of a city – its like a responsibility for a family. To feed and grow. It’s a team work»
Ivanova’s parliamentary opponent Konstantin Sukhenko will continue this rivalry on September 14th. Head of finances at the Legislative Council expects, firstly, tenacity from a future governor. With sanctions barrier and general economic downfall growing, the city’s boss will have to find a way to sustain the normal way of life for St. Petersburg’s residents.
Konstantin Sukhenko, deputy of St. Petersburg’s Legislative Council: “I would really want the new governor to be a very educated and a really intelligent man. I also think he needs to be a crisis manager, because we’re in for some difficult times. And, naturally, he must be able to find and make non-standard decisions in difficult circumstances”
The only person on the list who has the experience of running a big city is Georgiy Poltavchenko. Right now he has the word “acting” standing next to the “governor” title. Poltavchenko has said on numerous occasions that a city boss is known not for one’s words, but for one’s deeds. That’s why his formula is plain and simple”
Georgiy Poltavchenko, acting governor of St. Petersburg: “Smart servant of the people”
All participants of the September 14th events are now united by the only allowed, but nonetheless problematically pronounceable status: “the list of Russian citizens, taking part in election campaign of the highest official in Russian Federation’s city of St. Petersburg”. Political analysts are sure that – as opposed to this complex wording – the first governor elections in 11 years will go without visible difficulties.
Vladimir Eremenko, political analyst: “According to my estimations, this will be one of softest and calmest campaigns. Everything’s in place, everything’s determined. St. Petersburg is not a unique city, but its special and self-sufficient”.
On September 15th, the new governor will become St. Petersburg’s 67th head – since Alexander Menshikov. Or else – the name will stay the same, 66th. In any case, one of the five will determine the life of the big city for the next 5 years.