At the primaries of United Russia for elections to the legislature of the Ulyanovsk region, there was a scandal: the first deputy chairman and leader of the United Russia faction of the regional legislature, Vasily Gvozdev, said that his “comrades” in the party from the presidium of the regional political council use administrative resources in the primaries and “do everything to Gvozdev didn’t win.” At the same time, he named the specific participants in the opposition, which he claims – the deputy governor for domestic policy Alexander Korobko, the vice-premier of the regional government Vadim Andreev and the head of the executive committee of the party Konstantin Dolgov. Earlier, back in April, there were already talks in the regional political elite that Vasily Gvozdev would be “pushed away from the elections.” Officials deny the use of administrative resources. The executive committee of the regional department says that such statements are incompatible with the status of a primaries candidate.
On Wednesday, Vasily Gvozdev, deputy secretary of the regional branch, leader of the ER faction and first vice-speaker of the legislature of the Ulyanovsk region, made a statement on his Telegram channel that “some of his ‘comrades’ in the party, who are members of the presidium of the regional branch of United Russia, they do everything to prevent Gvozdev from winning.” “Deputy chairman of the regional government Vadim Andreev, deputy governor for domestic policy Alexander Korobko and head of the executive committee of the regional branch of United Russia Konstantin Dolgov are organizing everything so that the entire administrative resource is directed against me,” Mr. Gvozdev said. According to him, “commands are coming” to “not let Vasily Gvozdev into schools and all other institutions”, “so that no one communicates” with him, and “leaders and leaders of public opinion, including through the office of Alexander Korobko, are recommended almost put up videos in support of Yuri Kelin ”(chief physician of the Central Committee of the Medical Unit, the main rival of Mr. Gvozdev in the district). Addressing the voters, Vasily Gvozdev suggested “not to fall for these provocations”, and urged Mr. Korobko, Andreev and Dolgov to “stop” and “not trample into the dirt the remaining confidence of the residents in a good procedure for preliminary voting.”
Mr. Gvozdev also noted that, in contrast to him, “as the main candidate”, on the last day of registration of participants, rivals in his territory registered leaders of public opinion (headmasters, assistants to deputies, the head physician of the hospital), “which was unexpected even for them – team, they came and registered.” He also expressed claims to the secretary of the ER regional branch, Vladimir Kameko, noting that if he, Vasily Gvozdev, were the secretary of the ER regional branch, then “the primaries would not have passed exactly like that.”
Vasily Gvozdev is 52 years old, he has been in politics for a long time: starting from 1996 (until 2012) he was elected a deputy of the Ulyanovsk City Duma four times, he was the chairman of the city duma three times, he worked in various positions in the government of the region, since September 2013 he was a deputy of the regional legislative assembly of the fifth, and then sixth convocation. From September 2018 to January 2022, he headed the ER regional department. At the primaries, Mr. Gvozdev was nominated in the 16th constituency, from which he was elected earlier, he has 17 rivals today.
The fact that Vasily Gvozdev, his party colleagues will try to “push away from the elections” in the primaries, was said in the local political elite back in April. There were suggestions that the deputy chairman of the Ulyanovsk City Duma, non-partisan Sergey Morgachev (a media personality who had every chance of winning the last elections to the State Duma, but was deprived of registration for copyright infringement in campaigning) wanted to use as a tool to exclude the victory of Vasily Gvozdev, registering same district. However, last Sunday, Sergei Morgachev announced that he was withdrawing his candidacy from the primaries due to the fact that among his voters “not everyone supports United Russia,” and decided to run as an independent candidate. In a conversation with Kommersant, he noted that “there were talks that United Russia wanted to attract me and throw Gvozdev away, so I left and gave him every chance,” Mr. Morgachev said, noting that this was his “personal decision “.
Observers note that such a serious accusation of party colleagues in the use of administrative resources in the UR primaries was heard in the region for the first time.
In a conversation with Kommersant, Mr. Gvozdev said that he had “every reason” to make such a statement and was “ready for any development of events,” even if one of those whom he named sued. According to him, “even now many people call him – from schools, institutions – and tell interesting things about what is happening.” What is the reason for the desire not to allow him to win the primaries, he does not know, but notes that “people who tell the truth and are aimed at working with people, for some reason, are now less interesting.”
The deputy chairman of the regional government, Vadim Andreev (who oversees the block of education, culture and sports, was the chairman of the city election commission in the past), in an interview with Kommersant, called Mr. Gvozdev’s statement “very strange” and “unfounded.” “I don’t have any information about setting up to support someone. The intensity of passions is high, but it is surprising that such experienced politicians as Vasily Gvozdev show intemperance. We will write it off as fatigue from the lengthy preliminary voting procedure and a long stay in the political sphere,” said the deputy chairman of the regional government, adding that he “has no complaints against Vasily Gvozdev.”
Vice-Governor Alexander Korobko also denies the use of administrative resources. He told Kommersant that he perceives the statement quite the opposite – as a complaint from a deputy that “he is not given the opportunity to use the administrative resource” in the primaries in his own interests. “He wants us to convene school directors and urge them to vote for him, but we will not do this,” said Mr. Korobko, adding that, as a vice speaker, he has no complaints against Vasily Gvozdev, “but the majority of the members of the faction They don’t treat him with respect.”
Neither one nor the other interlocutor intends to demand refutations from Mr. Gvozdev. However, Konstantin Dolgov told Kommersant that Vasily Gvozdev “made an inappropriate statement,” and “party lawyers are studying his emotional speech to discredit the party and the preliminary voting procedure.” “According to the provision on preliminary voting, such statements are unacceptable for their participants and entail the exclusion of violators from the number of candidates,” the head of the executive committee emphasized.
Ulyanovsk political scientist Nikolai Vasin noted that, on the one hand, “as a person who knows the inner workings,” Vasily Gvozdev only confirmed the use of administrative resources by United Russia. On the other hand, the political scientist believes, the political council has long been dissatisfied with the activities of Vasily Gvozdev, “they believe that he has already worked out his potential, and, probably, he was given to understand that they want changes.”