Exploring the causes of gubernatorial resignations in Russia

Exploring the causes of gubernatorial resignations in Russia

Article received: 2021.01.15. Accepted: 2022.04.01
DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2022.04.13
Rubric: Russia today

For citation:

Turovsky R.F., Luizidis E.M. Exploring the causes of gubernatorial resignations in Russia. – Polis. Political Studies. 2022. No. 4. P. 161-178. (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2022.04.13

The study was implemented in the framework of the Basic Research Program at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE University) in 2020. The authors express gratitude for the help in conducting an empirical study to the HSE post-graduate student E. Korneeva and HSE master student A. Lyutikova.


The issue of the principles and consequences of gubernatorial changes in Russia is a subject of academic interest. In the existing literature, special attention is paid to the responsibility of governors for certain areas of their activities, which can be a basis for resignations. The problem of this study is that the principles guiding the rotation of governors in Russia remain unexplored. Firstly, we shed some light on how they have evolved in the long historical context. Secondly, we use a more extensive series of variables covering various aspects of the personnel policy of the federal center to compare all five periods of gubernatorial appointments in post-Soviet Russia. The analysis of political history reveals the undulating nature of the process, which is associated both with natural causes of the cycles of gubernatorial appointments, and with presidential elections and their political consequences for intraelite relations. The regression analysis took into account “natural” rotation (age, term of office), electoral efficiency (results of federal elections), the political influence of governors at the federal level, the managerial efficiency of regional authorities (based on expert evaluations) and criteria that characterize the financial and socio-economic well-being of the territory. The results of the analysis showed the changing nature of criteria affecting gubernatorial resignations in the post-Soviet period. In contrast to previous studies, this paper shows a significant, but irregular, importance of certain socio-economic indicators and criteria for managerial efficiency. In reverse, the study reveals that the influence of political criteria was not statistically significant. One exception is the governor’s influence in the federal center, which is related to a denser integration into the network of patron-client relations. As evidenced by our political-historical and case analysis, the struggle of various federal groups of influence and the policy of balance and compensation undermines the possibility of creating a system of gubernatorial appointments that follows certain measurable criteria and such a system may not even be required.

vertical of power, bureaucratic appointments, governors, efficiency assessment, competence, loyalty, federal center.


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Content No. 4, 2022

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