MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev plans to replace dozens of regional governors over the next few years in an attempt to increase his influence within officialdom, the Vedomosti newspaper reported on Thursday.
Vedomosti said Medvedev, who took over as president from Vladimir Putin in May, is seeking to get more of his own loyalists appointed to influential posts.
The paper cited unidentified Kremlin officials as saying that Medvedev has been unimpressed by the quality of many governors and wanted a younger generation of officials, preferably with business experience, to take regional postings.
“A mass rotation of regional heads is planned, according to an official in the administration: they want to replace 16 by the end of this year and 10 next year,” the paper said.
The paper said the Kremlin wanted to replace some of Russia’s oldest regional bosses — such as Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and Tatarstan governor Mintimer Shaimiyev who are both over 70.
Medvedev said on Wednesday that Russia was finding it hard to find qualified officials and suggested bureaucrats be rotated through jobs to decrease corruption and improve standards.
Investors are watching to see how Russia’s dual system of governance will work, with Medvedev as Kremlin chief and Putin as a powerful prime minister.
In 2004, Russia’s parliament changed the law in 2004 to scrap direct gubernatorial elections.
They were replaced with a system under which governors are nominated by the president and then confirmed by regional legislatures. The president can dissolve a legislature if it rejects his nominee.