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Old personnel under new flags

27 / 07 / 2016

Last week in Crimea the discussion sparked by questions, who is responsible for Crimean resorts. Well-known Russian blogger Ilya Varlamov made a series of reports from a trip to the peninsula, which has shocked readers how Crimean cities and towns meet travelers. According to the blogger, not only Ukrainian and Russian authorities on should be held responsible for what is going on, but Crimeans themselves. “How many years must pass after the change of flags, that it would be impossible to mutter about the fact that “25 years cursed Bandera’s men killed Crimea?” – Varlamov wrote.

In response, the head of the “Committee” of Crimean “parliament” on sanatorium-resort complex and tourism Aleksej Cherniak lamented the situation of 90-s, “when after breakup of the USSR the country’s economy was in process of development and no one thought about the architecture, all built everything anyhow”.

Statement of Cherniak is progress in the field of excuses. <...> Cherniak found a new scapegoat – the officials of the “dashing 90-s”.

By extension, this is a simple question – change of power. Crimeans, welcomed the Russian invasion, hoped to improve the quality of their lives. But this is impossible without improving the quality of authorities.


QirimInfo learnt how the highest executive power of Crimea renewed for last two years. For this purpose we studied the biographies of the members of the Russian government of Crimea, heads of city and regional “administrations”, as well as leaders of the “city” and “district councils”.


«Government» of nonprofessionals


At first glance, the Crimean government is showing quite a high result in the number of new staff.

Primarily, this is due to the fact that there are many Russians in Crimean government. 6 of 27 people (including Sergej Aksenov and his deputies) are Russian Vikings. The most high-ranking of them are deputy of Aksenov reserve colonel Sergei Kazurin and deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers – Permanent Representative of Crimea under the Russian President Georgij Muradov.

A significant part of “ministers” of Aksenov have already managed to work as officials, they are for the first time in illegitimate Crimean government. For example, the “minister” of Resorts and Tourism Sergej Strelbitskij was a vice-mayor of Yalta and the Director of the Department of Tourism of the Lviv Regional State Administration. “Minister” of Health Aleksandr Golenko was the head of health department of Kerch city council for 19 years.


In fact, the only minister who has kept his seat after the annexation is the “minister” of Education Natalia Goncharova – she started leading the department in 2012. We should also mention “minister” of emergency Andrej Shakhov, who was chief GU GSCHS in Crimea before the annexation, and the “minister” of culture Vera Novoselskaya who had time to work as the Deputy Minister of Culture of the ARC before the occupation.

However, new persons in “government” do not mean high quality of its work, because it is one thing to have if not bureaucratic experience, then at least entrepreneurial one in that field, for which you will be responsible in the “ministry”, and another thing is to come to the position of leadership from zero. The most striking example of vocational inconsistencies is, of course, Sergej Aksenov, who even never was a director of the private enterprise, but always as a deputy. The only “higher” position in his biography is president of the Federation of Greco-Roman wrestling of Crimea. However, it is clear that he began to govern Crimea not due to the fact that he was able to prove to be a good manager.

But it would seem that if you’re not a professional, you should at least surround yourself with professionals. However Aksenov decided in a different way. His first deputy is Mikhail Sheremet, the brightest line in the biography of whom is the command of the “people’s rebels”. Deputy “minister” – “minister” of information became Dmitrij Polonskij, who had no relation to the media sphere before. Another deputy, Ruslan Balbec, can not boast of experience on a serious position at all.

Other deputies of Aksenov can boast of such experience, but the point is that they just can not be called as news faces of Crimean authorities. <...>

That is why new faces in the Crimean authorities do not mean its qualitative changes. Yes, almost none of them was previously the minister of the ARC. However, some of them had already time to work on other positions in the structure of Crimean government, what means that they can not be called new faces. On the other hand, most of the ministers, who can be roughly counted among the new faces, occurred on their positions not because of their professional qualities.


Changed flags, but not cabinets

And what has happened in the local authorities? The level of life of Crimeans is largely determined not by activities of “Council of Ministers”, but by actions of the officials in their cities and regions.

Only three of 27 heads of administrations of Crimean cities and districts can really be called new faces of authorities: the heads of Belogorsk, Kerch and Evpatoria “city administration”.


Five of current heads of “administrations” led village councils at their time. They can be hardly called as new faces – on the one hand, they did not have any influence on the life of the whole district, on the other hand, they were the first persons in their localities. A similar situation with the head of “administration” of Crimean capital Gennadij Bakharev, who led the railway district council of Simferopol since 2006.

But there are much more new faces at the level of heads of local councils: 9 of 27. Someone came into the power from business sphere, like chairman of Dzhankoyskij “city council” Aleksandr Kulnev or his colleague from Saki Vladimir Dobrianskij, someone was lucky in his time to get a job in “Consol LTD”, like heads of Feodosia and Kerch city councils Svetlana Gevchuk and Larissa Scherbul, someone was just a master of production for last 10 years, like chairman of Razdolnenskij “district council” Yurij Migal. Another four heads of local councils to the annexation were the heads of village and town, and could have an impact only on the life of their community.

All other heads of administrations and local councils can not write off their failure on the old regime in any way, since they were part of the government themselves. Someone led tax authority, someone was responsible for the state of housing and communal services, someone has managed to get the vice-governor or deputy chairman of the Council positions… And, of course, many persons after the occupation of Crimea have changed the flags, but not the cabinets.

In fact, at the head of the local authorities are Crimeans, familiar to residents of their region as the officials, who even before the annexation had a significant impact and contributed in the development and in the degradation of the region.

That’s why  in all comparisons of living standards “with Ukraine” and “with Russia” we need to remember that the local officials mostly remained the same.


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