On the Fourth of July, the United Russia party officially put forward Dmitry Azarov for the gubernatorial elections to be held this September. From September 8 to September 10, we, Samara residents, will have to elect the governor of the Samara region. Today we will tell you how much money from the budget will be spent by the team of the “golden governor” on his PR campaign.
According to Russian law, every candidate who takes part in the elections opens an electoral account and pays from it for all printed campaigning, advertising on television, in newspapers. The principle of equality of candidates is also separately registered in the electoral law. But Dmitry Azarov decided to act a little differently.
This year’s elections can only be called such because so far there are several candidates on the ballot. Political heavyweights of the Samara region do not participate in these elections. So the deputy of the State Duma from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Mikhail Matveev back on May 19, answering a question from the editor of “Protocol. Samara” in the comments on your telegram channel declaredthat “Comrade Leskin” will participate in the gubernatorial elections from his party.
Alexey Leskin, secretary of the regional party committee and deputy chairman of the Samara Provincial Duma. He already participated in the gubernatorial elections against Dmitry Azarov and then scored almost 10% of the votes. Another Deputy Chairman of the Duma – Alexander Stepanov, who heads the Liberal Democrats in the Gubduma, will also take part in the elections. Well, from fair Russians for the chair of the governor will fight Mikhail Maryakhin.
All these three representatives of the parliamentary parties are united by their membership in the Gubdum and one more fact. They already took part in the gubernatorial elections against Dmitry Azarov in 2018 and in total did not scored even 20% of the votes. None of the current deputies of the State Duma from the Samara region became a competitor to Azarov – and Mikhail Matveev from the Communist Party and Vladimir Koshelev from the Liberal Democratic Party, these elections were ignored.
It would seem that there is nothing to worry about. Elections are cleared, other candidates are not campaigning. Here it is – victory in the elections. But this is not enough for Dmitry Azarov. He still decided to spend the money of the regional budget on PR, or, as it is called in procurement,
We studied the Goszakupok portal and found that the department of administration of the governor of the Samara region simply specializes in buying advertising. Of the 86 purchases in 2023, 53 are orders for publications in various publications.
But where do they buy ads? In almost every area there are local newspapers with names that are difficult to distinguish from each other.
“Working tribune” in Otradnoye, “Chapaevsky worker” in Chapaevsk, “Zhigulevsky worker” in Zhigulevsk. “Red Banner”, “Banner of the Motherland”, “Banner of Labor”, “Steppe”, “Steppe News”, “Steppe Lighthouse”, “Volga Nov”, “Volga News”. It seems that the names for them were invented by a generator of random phrases. In each of these newspapers, the governor’s administration paid for publications. The average size of a contract with such a “publication” is around 650,000 rubles. The audience of such publications is older people in district centers and villages who want to keep abreast of local news.
For example, in the newspaper “Chagrinsky Dawns” told about how the competition “Young Plowman” was held. But if we study the site, we will find there a report from the United Russia party meeting or, for example, endurance from the governor’s message. It contains his quote and a review about the governor from the head of the Khvorostyansky district:
Probably, for such publications the newspaper received 652 thousand rubles from the regional budget from the governor’s administration.
From the text of the contracts, it directly follows that it is newspaper publications, that is, paper ones, that are paid for. But some publications as a whole do not come out anywhere except paper. So the newspaper “Bulletin of Novokuybyshevsk” had a website, a link to it even remained on website administration. But when you try to go through it, we are told that the domain is not paid, that is, the site is abandoned. Vestnik Novokuibyshevsk received 650,000 rubles from the budget.
There are more than 30 such newspapers, and in total the governor’s administration spent almost 18 million rubles on advertising in them.
But outside of Samara, people not only read newspapers, but also watch TV, so they also bought advertising there. For example, on the Syzran TV channel came out plot with the participation of Azarov about local crafts at the Moscow forum “Creative Week”. 4.5 million rubles were spent on advertising on local television.
But the biggest piece went, of course, to the regional media. You could read the publication Samara Review, one of the oldest publications in Samara. It may even seem that this is an independent media. But it’s not. In 2023, Samara Review received more than five million rubles from the administration of the governor’s affairs.
The local TV channel GTRK “Samara” received one in a row, but at once for 25 million rubles. However, the amount of the contract did not affect the quality of the plots of the State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company “Samara”. In addition to the typical propaganda stories about how Samara got prettier under Azarov, there are, for example, here such.
Since 2009, the channel has been directed by Elena Krylova, now a deputy of the Samara Provincial Duma. There is no commission on ethics in this convocation, therefore the observance of the norms of the law by the deputies must be controlled by the committee on regulations. How did it happen that a deputy of the regional duma, whose powers include control over the activities of the governor of the Samara region, receives government contracts worth millions of rubles from his department? We will most likely not get an answer to this question. Because in compound Committee on Regulations of the Samara Provincial Duma includes Elena Krylova herself.
But contracts in regional media are not the only interest of the governor’s administration. They also buy publications from the federal media and their regional divisions. Interfax received almost 1.7 million rubles for 100 publications about the governor’s activities, that is, one note on their website costs the budget 17 thousand rubles.
“Arguments and Facts” received a modest 850 thousand rubles from the administration of affairs, but the publication “Kommersant-Volga” received 10 million and 1 ruble. FederalPress allocated 1.5 million rubles, Margarita Simonyan’s agency MIA Russia Today as much as 2,200,000 rubles. A purchase for the same amount was received by ITAR-TASS, perhaps this is due to the desire of Dmitry Azarov to get into the so-called “daddies” in the best light. Another million rubles went to Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
In total, we found 53 purchases of information in various publications from the administration of the governor’s affairs for a total amount of more than 85 million rubles.
Dmitry Azarov will spend more than 85 million rubles on advertising his activities as governor. And this is where the problem may arise. According to the law of the Samara region on the election of the governor basis to refuse registration, there may be campaigning for an amount exceeding 5% of the electoral fund limit. And he, according to the same law is 200 million rubles.
Let’s calculate and get that 5% of 200 million is 10 million rubles. And since only budget money Azarov will spend more than 85 million rubles, that is, almost half of the electoral fund limit. This means that the Electoral Commission of the Samara Region is obliged to refuse registration to candidate Azarov, observing the principle of equality of candidates and the laws of the Samara Region. We sent them a request to clarify and comment on our material.