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Governors Put On Warning

Dmitry Medvedev showed his angry side today on state television, as he excoriated Russia’s regional governors and demanded that they get on top of unemployment and wage arrears problems, such as those which provoked the recent protests in Pikalyovo.

“Either they (governors) themselves get down to tackle these issues, or I will be forced to fire them from their positions, irrespective of their past merits,” Russian TV channels showed a tense Medvedev telling Kremlin envoys to Russia’s federal districts during a teleconference.

“If somewhere … this process spirals out of control, I will consider it a case of professional incompetence.” (…)

“It is inadmissible when these problems are handled from above, from Moscow,” Medvedev said in a clear reference to Putin’s visit to Pikalyovo.

The Russian practice of publicly scolding and embarrassing officials is decades old – though no one practiced it better than the temporary PM Vikto Zubkov – and even the finance minister has come under direct verbal attack from the executive.  Notice how Medvedev names no names in his statement about who he is assigning fault to … and, just like one of the regional governors, all it would take would be one signature to remove one of Russia’s other highest officials.