Regional elites are under increased pressure from the Kremlin to comply with anti-corruption regulation as the country approaches a new wave of governors’ elections in September 2015, and with 18 months until the national parliamentary elections. The Presidential Administration now needs to finalize governors’ reshuffling to have a complete team ahead of the coming elections.
As economic challenges continue, the national leadership is increasingly interested in improving the government’s effectiveness and efficiency. German Gref, head of the state-owned Sberbank, the country’s largest bank, is the main champion of the topic and has already started a series of efficient management training programs for top level government officials. This may also be an indicator of his intention to return to public service.
Opposition leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov’smurder in February has caused a lasting social campaign as people continue to bring flowers to the crime scene near the Kremlin and defend an improvised memorial from demolition. However, it has not yet led to lasting consequences and greater support for the opposition.
Despite allegedly belonging to Eastern Orthodox Christianity, as well as the past years’ trend of the Church’s being present in public life, Russians are not notably church-going, and the overall number of Russians who observe major Christian holidays remains stable at a low level. Fewer than five percent of Russians have observed the Great Fast in the last twenty years.
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