Kremlin Working Hard To Keep Ukrainian Issue Out Of Gubernatorial Campaigns – OpEd


In yet another indication that some in Putin’s Presidential Administration fear that the war in Ukraine could become a serious political issue, the Kremlin is now working hard to ensure that candidates in the 21 gubernatorial elections on September 10 raise it except in the most anodyne ways.

According to the editors of the Verstka news agency, their sources in Moscow and the regions say that “gubernatorial candidates supported by the Kremlin and representatives of the systemic opposition will not actively use the theme of the war in Ukraine in their campaigns” (

These candidates will talk about support for veterans and their families and aid to the front, but they will be silent about the war itself, a strategy the authorities have adopted inorder to show that “there are no problems inside the country in connection with the war and that everything in Russia is quiet.”

Verstka says that what is especially striking is the way that some candidates who had experience with the war in the Donbass have gone silent about the conflict instead of playing up the experiences that presumably were the reasons they were elevated to the position of gubernatorial candidates. 

According to a source in the Urals Federal District administration, “no one had prohibited the governors from talking about their support to the front, but promoting this theme is irrational. People are more interested in what is happening in their own territories and how the authorities intend to solve local problems. That is what we’ve advised them to concentrate on.”

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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