Medvedev Misses Governor Deadline

For MTBatdyev
President Dmitry Medvedev has missed the deadline to nominate a leader for the volatile North Caucasus republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia, a development analysts say could mean that the Kremlin is struggling to find a candidate acceptable to conflicting regional elites.

The five-year term of the republic's current president, Mustafa Batdyev, expires Sept. 3. By law, Medvedev should have submitted the candidacy of a proposed leader Tuesday for approval by the republic's parliament, known as the People's Assembly.

A spokeswoman for the assembly said that no proposal had been received from the Kremlin as of late Wednesday afternoon and that the deputies left for the summer recess on July 21.

"They are ready to convene any day, but no such signal has been received so far," the spokeswoman said by telephone from the republic's capital, Cherkessk.

The Kremlin press service declined to comment Wednesday on what was behind the delay.

Repeated calls to the office of Vladimir Ustinov, presidential envoy to the Southern Federal District, went unanswered. By law, Ustinov is required to recommend potential candidates to Medvedev.

It appears that the Kremlin may be having difficulties finding a replacement for Batdyev, whose tenure has seen massive public protests that climaxed in the seizure of his own office by an angry mob in 2005. The protests were sparked by a clan conflict in which Batdyev's son-in-law, along with other attackers, killed several people in an ambush outside Cherkessk.

Batdyev had not formally sought Medvedev's approval for reappointment, as regional heads commonly do.

Alexei Makarkin of the Center for Political Technologies said this is a clear signal that the Kremlin would replace him. Choosing a replacement is particularly tricky in Karachayevo-Cherkessia because of the ethnic makeup in the republic, in which no indigenous ethnic groups enjoy an overwhelming majority of the population, said Alexei Titkov, an analyst with the Institute of Regional Studies.

It was common also for former President Vladimir Putin to miss deadlines in nominating regional leaders. "Medvedev is just following the general line of disrespect for legal procedures, a precedent set by his predecessors," Makarkin said.