MOSCOW, Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Russia's first ranking of governors on their "friendliness" toward local businesses has been released. Governors were rated based on surveys of businesspeople from each region, the number of lawsuits brought against regional authorities, the number of millionaires and other indicators. The friendliest include the republic of Tatarstan, east of Moscow, and the Kaliningrad region, a Russian exclave in Eastern Europe. The least friendly regions were Murmansk, in the Arctic, and Kalmykia, on the Caspian Sea.
The compiler of the ranking, the Social Opinion Research Laboratory (SORL), says it is of particular interest in light of the resurrection of gubernatorial elections in Russia. According to SORL expert Ilya Lushnikov, "The elections mean that regional leaders will need to cooperate with local businesspeople, who are influential in their regions and influence the electorate. Governors 'friendly' to business – those who came out top in the rating – can confidently enlist the support of local businesspeople, while the bottom-ranked governors will likely lose elections because they won't have the backing of major local employers."
One of the least friendly on the list was Marina Kovtun, governor of the Murmansk region. Appointed to her post in April 2012, Kovtun is thought to have stakes in major businesses and represents the interests of a financial group. "Our research in the Murmansk region shows that local businesspeople think the governor is totally uninterested in developing local business," says Lushnikov. "Moreover Kovtun is among the governors named the most in lawsuits and is involved in a range of business disputes, so it's unsurprising that Murmansk took last place on the list despite the fact that it's a major transport hub and has excellent prospects."
The leaders in the ranking were Tatarstan and the Kaliningrad region. "In the top regions the governors have successful programs for state support of entrepreneurs, a structure is in place for developing small-scale entrepreneurship, subsidies are offered and there is a relatively low level of corruption in the business sphere. Major decisions made in these regions are particularly business-oriented," says Lushnikov.
The list will also help politicians, according to its creators. "The bottom-ranked regions – for example the Murmansk region owing to the dreadful conditions there for running a business – are places with an increased risk of social instability. Residents will be more inclined to protest and the authority of the ruling party will suffer. We can also assume that leaders won't enjoy the support of the populace and will lose in elections. As a result opposition parties should focus on these regions as they have greater chances," emphasizes Lushnikov. "In Kalmykia (led by Alexei Orlov) there is a similar situation. An inexperienced governor and a huge problem with corruption, plus there are no programs for supporting businesses."
Top 5 "friendly" governors
- Rustam Minnikhanov (Republic of Tatarstan)
- Nikolai Tsukanov (Kaliningrad region)
- Yevgeny Savchenko (Belgorod region)
- Sergei Sobyanin (Moscow)
- Alexander Mikhailov (Kursk region)
Top 5 "unfriendly" governors
- Marina Kovtun (Murmansk region)
- Alexei Orlov (Republic of Kalmykia)
- Yury Berg (Orenburg region)
- Sergei Bozhenov (Volgograd region)
- Aslan Tkhakushnikov (Republic of Adygea)
A full ranking and methodology is available on the ranking web site, www.russiangovernors.com.
SOURCE Social Opinion Research Laboratory (SORL)