Opinion: Vasily Bochkarev unlikely to ever accept layoff
Penza, 19 October 2015. PenzaNews. Vasily Bochkarev, who had been the Penza region governor for 17 years, is likely to never fully get over his layoff due to his character and might do as much as possible to prove everyone the Kremlin officials made a wrong decision, an anonymous source close to the authorities told PenzaNews in their comment on the political situation in the region.
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“Vasily Kuzmich is very hurt because he, one and the only, was roughly denied going as a governor for another term. His temper will never let him get along with the fact that somebody else can best him in the governor’s office. And Bochkarev will yield profit from making a show that the federal authorities made a big mistake by waving him goodbye,” the source suggested.
According to it, this is the reason why various persons related to the issue began receiving e-mails with negatively-painted information about the events in the Penza region, signed by the former governor, shortly after the latter’s layoff.
Moreover, according to the source, the former governor held meetings with heads of areas where he also criticized the decisions of the then acting governor Ivan Belozertsev, with assertions that the latter is unlikely to earn over 50% of the vote in the election.
“It seems to me that the increase in activities of the ‘Modern Age Generation’ organization, somewhat relevant to the governor, was also spurred by him. Together with the media that had supported Vasily Bochkarev both during his term as the governor and before, it aimed to create negative information background. As an example, let me recall the ‘genial’ idea to take voting ballots off the polling stations, likely generated by particularly gifted ‘political technologists’ and ‘PR specialists.’ The initiative did not take roots in the society and suffered a grandiose blow. In fact, the discussion about the facts and events pointing towards a full-scale smear campaign against Belozertsev could take a long time,” the source said.
According to it, Vasily Bochkarev’s former posse firmly believed that the aforementioned facts will deter Ivan Belozertsev from appointing the former the regional representative in the Federation Council to avoid strengthening his positions, as a seat in the Federation Council will allow the former governor to “camp on the doorsteps” of high-ranked Moscow officials, “highlight” both real and imaginary shortcomings in the region, and influence the Moscow elites together with his former subordinates.
“But it is also public knowledge that Ivan Alexandrovich [Belozertsev] promised to appoint Vasily Kuzmich [Bochkarev] to the Federal Council before he was named the acting governor himself. Therefore, he kept his promise like an honest person and a true army officer. And now – and my knowledge of that is adamant – he faces a dilemma: either to be true to his word no matter what, or appoint somebody else the senator due to the current situation. I think nobody has any doubts over Bochkarev’s actions in his shoes. Anyone daring to criticize him would not just miss out on the high-ranking office, but attract harsh attacks. But Belozertsev is a lawful man. He kept his word by appointing Vasily Kuzmich the senator, likely hoping for a response in kind,” the source suggested.
The “response to a noble outreach” did not take too long, but it was a direct opposite to what had been expected, the source added.
“And how did he react? He began actively meeting with the journalists, media observers, bloggers. As those who’ve met with him during these ‘get-togethers’ say, he told them they should be tough towards authorities of any level, from local to federal, but particularly towards Belozertsev: allegedly, he was even telling them outright he is ready to pay for that. Although, in his opinion, once you start smearing the authorities they begin to pay it off themselves. Quite an interesting opinion,” the anonymous source pointed out.
“There are people thinking that Bochkarev largely went out of touch with reality, that the loss of the office he obviously got accustomed to over so many years of work struck him with an occupational hazard – personality dislocation. There is no other rational explanation to his activities. And those who make any long-term plans with Bochkarev act in a very short-sighted manner, as he is likely to be hoisted by his own petard. The journalists will get a dig in and find out that any random issue in the region – public transportation, communal services, enormous debt of agricultural enterprises to the region, ‘zero-percent’ landplot tax rate for ‘the chosen ones,’ and so on – shows signs of personal involvement of the former governor and his family. And if any such journalist investigation sees the light, the authorities will be unable to stay away. And there will be criminal cases to face, and there will be people to suffer deserved punishment, and finally the dreams of certain ‘close’ journalists on city community and law enforcement acting together will come true,” the source concluded.