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Regular version of the site

Working paper

The Rise and Fall of Local Self-Government: The Case of Petrozavodsk

Turchenko M.
On September 8, 2013 the mayoral election was held in Petrozavodsk, the capital city of the Republic of Karelia. An independent candidate Galina Shirshina gained success in this contest. On December 25, 2015 Shirshina was dismissed by the Petrozavodsk City Councillors. Her misgovernment of the city’s public sector was the official explanation for her dismissal. An alternative explanation of why she lost her position, was her refusal to conform with the regional power vertical. In accordance with the obtained results, the leading role in Shirshina’s recall was played by the Karelian authorities. They decided to remove Shirshina after their failure to control her actions as mayor. The key step towards the implementation of this decision was elimination of the autonomy of the local political elites, who supported the mayor of Petrozavodsk and controlled the majority of the municipal deputies. The regional authorities replaced popular mayoral elections in the city with the appointment of a city manager to assure their political control in the future. This case study shows that the survival of mayoral governance and the direct mayoral elections in the cities of Russia depend on mayoral loyalty to the regional authorities.