In a recent interview, popular economist Dmitry Potapenko said that Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin had begun to “take on” too much power. It is less and less clear what sphere he is more interested in -- introducing new laws, controlling and strengthening his executive office, or supervising healthcare somehow.
Against the backdrop of the coronavirus epidemic the political situation in Russia is altering its contours. For some politicians, the current period of time, which is problematic for the country, offers an opportunity to significantly strengthen their positions as regards the future.
For quite a long time the expert community has been discussing Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin who has stepped into spotlight both in Moscow and at the federal level. Some believe that Sobyanin understands perfectly well what he is doing and what further steps should be taken. For example, the well-known economist Dmitry Potapenko said in a recent interview that Sobyanin had begun to increasingly take on too much power. It is less and less unclear what sphere he has more interest in -- introducing new laws, controlling and strengthening his executive office, or supervising healthcare somehow. According to Potapenko, all this is taking place within the framework of the political struggle between incumbent Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Sobyanin.
“As we remember, fundamentally Mishustin and Sobyanin belong to different groups of influence,” said Potapenko. “Many experts suspected that there would be great interest [from both sides.] Today, after Mishustin stepped aside by fortunate or unfortunate coincidence and Sobyanin received limited powers, he and his group got a short spell of time to seize power. In general, he is doing everything right. Apparently, Sobyanin is slowly “taking over” power.
The other thing is that it has a bearing on the popularity ratings. These things are interdependent. As Putin's ratings begin to decline and Sobyanin's ratings are rising – by the way, at the same time, [off-parliament opposition leader Alexey] Navalny's ratings are also growing thanks to his the Five Steps for Russia program – on the whole, the team that stands behind Sobyanin’s back is gaining power. Will their drive end up with the collapse of the group itself? It is highly likely because there has never been a situation where Putin did not make it clear that the last decision would always have the final say.
Polling numbers are not the same thing as surveys. Along with it, several rankings are usually drawn up, including the one made by the Federal Guard Service. The agency has been working as a think tank for a long time. Among other things, it squelches social splashes. However, as the Federal Guard Service is subordinate to the President, it makes every effort not to cause any distress to him. At the same time, it tries to be objective but its staff understands that no one loves the messenger who brings bad news. So, it is not an objective source [of data] for Vladimir Putin either.”