Contradictions between the governor of the Perm Territory Dmitry Makhonin and the head of Perm Alexei Demkin may be resolved by the early resignation of the mayor. According to Kommersant, Mr. Demkin may leave his post before the end of June and, according to one version, take a position in the regional government. The press services of the administration of the governor and the mayor’s office of Perm do not comment on the situation. Earlier, Mr. Makhonin publicly criticized the work of the leadership of the regional center, but claimed that he was not in conflict with the head of the city.
As it became known to “Kommersant”, the head of Perm, Alexei Demkin, may leave this position before the end of June. According to the news agency Ura.ru, during a personal meeting at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, Perm Governor Dmitry Makhonin allegedly persuaded Mr. Demkin to resign. It is assumed that after that he will receive the post of Deputy Prime Minister in the regional government.
According to Kommersant’s interlocutors, who are familiar with the situation in the Perm mayor’s office, together with Alexei Demkin, the first deputy head of the city, Eduard Khairullin, and vice-mayor for infrastructure development, Igor Subbotin, may leave the city administration. According to one of the sources, the head of Perm was allegedly ready to leave his post after City Day on June 12: “It was important for him to hold this event, to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the city.”
However, another interlocutor of Kommersant called the agreements between the regional and city authorities “a very shaky structure” that “can crumble at any moment.”
The press service of the mayor’s office and the information policy department of the governor’s administration declined to comment.
Earlier, as Kommersant reported, Dmitry Makhonin planned to take a number of financially capacious powers of the Perm mayor’s office to the regional level. These are, in particular, land relations, heat and water supply, education, trade, outdoor advertising, waste management and funeral services. Relevant bills are under consideration by the Legislative Assembly of the Perm Territory. At a meeting with the leadership of local media on June 8, the governor explained to journalists that the redistribution of powers in favor of the regional government would increase the efficiency and effectiveness of public administration.
At the same time, Mr. Makhonin denied the conflict with Alexei Demkin, assuring that “it is impossible to have a conflict between superiors and subordinates,” but did not hide his dissatisfaction with the work of the mayor’s office: “Someone is competent in building houses, roads, social facilities, and someone in issuance of letters. Let everyone deal with their own competence: colleagues in the city issue certificates, and we will work.”
Alexey Demkin was approved as the head of Perm in 2020 for a five-year term by the decision of the city duma. Prior to joining the municipal service, he was the general director of the largest construction company in the region, JSC PZSP, and also headed the committee of the City Duma on urban planning.
According to Kommersant’s sources, several candidates for the post of head of Perm are now being discussed in the event of the early resignation of Mr. Demkin.
Among them are Deputy Prime Minister of the regional government for infrastructure development Andrey Alyakrinsky, ex-head of the administration of Perm, regional vice-premier Dmitry Samoilov and chairman of the infrastructure committee of the Legislative Assembly of the Perm Territory, adviser to the governor Pavel Cherepanov. The latter told Kommersant that it was incorrect to discuss candidates for the position of mayor under the current head of the city: “The city has a head, he continues to work. I didn’t get any offers.”
Political consultant Lyudmila Oznobishina believes that the attitude of the regional authorities towards the regional capital has changed recently. “In 2020-21, the mayorship was perceived as belonging to the governor’s team as a key player. Now, in connection with the preparations for the 300th anniversary of Perm and the transition of management teams to an almost mobilization mode of work, the conditions have changed. The head of Perm has turned from a “player of the governor’s team” into a subordinate, and the content of relationships within the regional power vertical has also changed. Therefore, the question arises: does it make sense to continue working in the city in positions without political and economic subjectivity, ”says the expert.
Political technologist Viktor Sokolov suggests that Aleksey Demkin may try to “exchange” his resignation for a position in the regional government: “I think it is important for him to remain in the system in order to be able to lobby for the interests of his enterprise. So I think it’s unlikely that I’ll be back in business.” According to the expert, the conflict between the mayor and the governor on the eve of the presidential elections in 2024 may attract the attention of the federal authorities with “unpredictable personnel consequences for the Perm Territory.”