Governor Shumkov is on fire. at work and drowning in business

Kurgan Governor Vadim Shumkov announced the readiness of members of the regional government and employees of municipal administrations to transfer part of their salaries to citizens whose houses were flooded during the flood. We are talking about the daily earnings of officials, and the amount collected will exceed 10 million rubles. The region also continues to accept applications from owners of flooded houses to receive one-time financial assistance in the amount of 10 thousand rubles, as well as payments of 30 and 50 thousand for property partially or completely lost as a result of the emergency. At the same time, from the Ketovsky and Belozersky districts, which suffered the most from the water disaster, there are massive reports from residents about refusals to provide social benefits by local officials. This is happening against the backdrop of a discussion in the media about Shumkov’s possible imminent resignation from the post of governor and the reasons why his meeting with Vladimir Putin has not yet taken place, who, as is known, has not yet approved the nomination of the head of the Trans-Ural region for a new term. Meanwhile, Shumkov was repeatedly harshly criticized by the federal center. In particular, Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko reprimanded him for problems with demography, the housing and communal services system and the operation of public transport. The situation in the region is seriously complicated by annual forest fires, the damage from which last year was estimated at 2.5 billion rubles. Shumkov himself is extremely sensitive to any criticism of his activities, although the results of his five-year work clearly do not demonstrate socio-economic achievements: the region ranks last in quality of life ratings, the working population continues to leave it, and he paid attention to the increase in ethnic crime, in particular , head of the Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin. Experts say one of the disadvantages of Vadim Shumkov’s work  is the personnel problem, and members of his team have already been involved in high-profile criminal cases.

Are local subordinates “digging a hole” for Shumkov?

Despite the decrease in water level in Tobol, according to RIA Novosti, more than 2.1 thousand residential and 3.4 thousand country houses in 38 settlements remain flooded in the Kurgan region. Rossiyskaya Gazeta writes about the evacuation of 15 thousand people and police officers on duty around the clock, who are tasked with preventing looting.

Against this background, the head of the region,  Vadim Shumkov,  announced in his telegram channel the readiness of members of the regional government and employees of municipal administrations to transfer part of their salaries to citizens whose houses were flooded during the flood. It is clarified that we are talking about the daily earnings of officials, and the collected amount will exceed  10 million rubles . The funds received will be used to purchase certificates for building materials.

In addition, we continue to accept applications from owners of flooded houses to receive one-time financial assistance in the amount of 10 thousand rubles, as well as payments of 30 and 50 thousand rubles for property partially or completely lost as a result of the emergency. Special commissions working locally are responsible for assessing damage and confirming the legality of payments.

However, it does not happen without excesses. Thus, in the Ketovsky and Belozersky districts, officials recognized some houses with flooded basements and moldy walls, no heating, electricity and gas supply as suitable for living and on this basis denied their owners to receive social payments. According to the Ural Mash telegram channel, refusals number in the dozens and are officially explained by the fact that  “the applicant’s living conditions were not violated as a result of the emergency . ”

In a publication by the URA news agency . Ru " tells about a resident of Zverinogolovsky District, who also faced refusal of payments.

“They refused to pay me 10 thousand rubles. The reason is that water did not enter the house. At the same time, the water damaged the foundation and buildings. Payments were agreed upon for someone in such a situation  ,” the publication quotes the victim as saying.

Kurgan governor between flood and fires

Without a doubt, local officials are doing a disservice to Governor Shumkov. Moreover, they are doing this at the very time when the media and political scientists are discussing the possible resignation of the head of the region. Let us recall that in early April it was in this context that Shumkov’s name appeared in a study by  the Agency for Political and Economic Communications  ( APEC ). And just a few days ago, the president of the St. Petersburg Politics Foundation,  Mikhail Vinogradov, mentioned his being “at risk” in a commentary to Vedomosti  .

The authors of the Regional Comments portal note that  “violent public activity, loud populist statements and a number of extraordinary protective measures” have reduced the risk of Shumkov losing his position “in the near future, despite serious damage to the region . ” At the same time, it is emphasized that his resignation will become probable next fall.

Note that shortly after the presidential elections, Vladimir Putin began meeting with the heads of regions seeking re-election during the September single voting day. Valery Limarenko  (Sakhalin Region),  Alexander Osipov  (Trans-Baikal Territory),  Radiy Khabirov  (Bashkiria),  Sergei Aksenov  (Crimea) and others hastened to enlist the president’s support  .

Vadim Shumkov is not on this list. Perhaps he still has to communicate with the first person of the state. But who knows whether the Kremlin is preparing another “personnel decision”?

Previously, the federal center had repeatedly voiced harsh criticism of the Kurgan governor. So, in 2021, Speaker of the Federation Council  Valentina Matvienko  gave Shumkov a scolding, pointing out, among other things, problems with demographics, water supply and sewerage networks and public transport.

Add to this the annual forest fires. Thus, since the beginning of April, the Ministry of Emergency Situations has recorded 28 landscape fires in the Kurgan region in areas that were not included in the flood zone, the main cause of which was identified as the human factor. Apparently, what doesn’t sink will burn? Last year, according to official data, in the region where the state of emergency was introduced, more than 1.8 thousand residential and non-residential buildings were damaged by fire. 22 people died. The damage caused was estimated at  2.5 billion rubles .

Experts drew attention to Shumkov’s refusal to travel to meetings with fire victims, explaining this by fear of criticism and inability to maintain a dialogue with the population. Instead of the governor, his deputies  Konstantin Ermakov  and  Vladimir Arkhipov went to the affected areas, and the latter was eventually fired for allegedly failing to ensure the normal functioning of the system for providing assistance to fire victims. However, a version was expressed according to which Arkhipov was simply made “extreme” in the eyes of the federal center, because back in 2022, Vladimir Putin made it clear: the heads of regions are personally responsible for extinguishing fires.

The quality of life is declining, crime is increasing

Shumkov’s reluctance to listen to criticism is no secret to journalists and members of the public. It is known that in the summer of 2022, he called the media and public spaces that allowed themselves critical remarks  “half-garbage” and immediately found himself on the list of regional heads with negative reputational cases.

But the negativity does not come out of nowhere. For example, at the end of 2023, the Kurgan region took 77th place in the RIA Novosti rating for quality of life (it occupied the same place a year earlier). Conclusions were made based on an analysis of indicators of the level of income and employment of the population, housing conditions, safety of residence, demographic situation, environmental and climatic conditions, provision of social infrastructure, level of education, economic development, small business development, etc.

From the results of the study, it becomes clear that the situation with all of the above in Shumkov’s estate is far from the best. This can be illustrated by demographic data, according to which the working-age population continues to leave the region. Thus, in 2022, more than 29.5 thousand people left the Trans-Ural region, while just over 25 thousand arrived. The migration population decline was 21% more than in 2021.

According to the results of five months of last year, the mortality rate was twice as high as the birth rate. The dynamics of marriages and divorces remained negative.

Despite a certain decrease, the unemployment rate is still high, and in the RIA Novosti crime rating the region ranks 64th: in 2023, 171.6 crimes were registered here per 10 thousand residents, of which 45 were serious and especially serious. 1.

Last January, the head of the Investigative Committee,  Alexander Bastrykin,  once again placed special emphasis on the increase in crimes committed in the region by migrants. Previously, the alarming situation attracted the attention  of Metropolitan of Kurgan and Belozersk Daniil  ( Dorovsky ), who last summer proposed establishing a ban on work in certain types of economic activities for foreign citizens carrying out labor activities on the basis of patents.

As an example, Bishop Daniel cited the Kaliningrad region, where foreign citizens were prohibited from working in the production of bread and flour confectionery products, baby food and dietary food products, in the field of passenger transportation, hotel business, preschool, primary and general education, etc. The proposal did not go unnoticed, and in November the governor’s decree introduced a ban on migrant labor in such areas as passenger transportation, food production, education and places of temporary residence, including hotels.

Personnel policy with a criminal connotation

FederalPress experts call  “instability with management personnel” one of the disadvantages of Governor Shumkov’s policy . Here the head of the region is really in trouble, and some of his protégés even came to the attention of the security forces. For example, last December, a criminal case for negligence leading to the death of two or more persons was opened against the mayor of Kurgan,  Elena Sitnikova . The official was lucky: the court did not make a decision on her arrest, limiting herself to a preventive measure in the form of a ban on certain actions.

Despite the lack of official comments, the media associate the criminal prosecution of the official with last year’s spring fires, as a result of which the village of Smolino, located in the suburbs of Kurgan, was completely burned down, where six people died, and some of the fire victims never saw the compensation payments due to them.

An interesting point: Elena Sitnikova, who headed the regional center in 2021, is the daughter of a famous businessman and former deputy of the Kurgan City Duma  Vyacheslav Tyazhelnikov . You can read publications online, from which it follows that when she was appointed to the position, Shumkov and his team actively used administrative resources, but as soon as it was necessary to find a “switchman,” Sitnikova became one. Isn’t it reminiscent of the story with the former deputy governor Arkhipov?

A scandalous attempt was made to appoint  Alexander Teterin , the ex-director of the department of information and internal policy, who was found guilty of fraud committed using his official position, to the post of head of the Novy Mir publishing house,  which was transformed into a government media holding that united regional print media   . As the investigation established, Teterin, together with the ex-chairman of the regional  Football Federation  Evgeny Rasskazov  , stole more than  447 thousand rubles allocated in 2017 at beach soccer competitions in Samara. Rasskazov managed to hide abroad, and Teterin, by court decision, was released from punishment in March last year due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. This basis, as we know, is not rehabilitative, and although Maria Baeva ultimately remained the official general director of the New World  , the media call the “gray eminence” of the media holding the former governor’s press secretary, who is involved, among other things, in making decisions of a financial and economic nature.

The presence of such people in Shumkov’s team makes you think: maybe it’s not a lack of leadership personnel, but their very specific selection? By the way, the press has expressed the opinion that they are preparing to put the “Sitnikova case” on hold, and the ex-official herself has allegedly already been promised a new “grain” position. Considering the story with Teterin, such a turn seems quite possible. Unless, of course, Shumkov himself resigns, having “wasted his strength” in the unequal “fight” against fires and floods.