世界の経済は同時に起こっている急激な景気の高揚を享受している。 過去の10年は経済の夜明けもどきに騙されてきた。 今回は本当に違うように思う。

The global economy enjoys a synchronised upswing
The past decade has been marked by a series of false economic dawns. This time really does feel different
Mar 18th 2017



ECONOMIC and political cycles have a habit of being out of sync. Just ask George Bush senior, who lost the presidential election in 1992 because voters blamed him for the recent recession. Or Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, booted out by German voters in 2005 after imposing painful reforms, only to see Angela Merkel reap the rewards. 


Today, almost ten years after the most severe financial crisis since the Depression, a broad-based economic upswing is at last under way. In America, Europe, Asia and the emerging markets, for the first time since a brief rebound in 2010, all the burners are firing at once. 


But the political mood is sour. A populist rebellion, nurtured by years of sluggish growth, is still spreading. Globalisation is out of favour. An economic nationalist sits in the White House. This week all eyes were on Dutch elections featuring Geert Wilders, a Dutch Islamophobic ideologue, just one of many European malcontents.

out of favour:人気を失って

This dissonance is dangerous. If populist politicians win credit for a more buoyant economy, their policies will gain credence, with potentially devastating effects. As a long-awaited upswing lifts spirits and spreads confidence, the big question is: what lies behind it? 


All together now
The past decade has been marked by false dawns, in which optimism at the start of a year has been undone—whether by the euro crisis, wobbles in emerging markets, the collapse of the oil price or fears of a meltdown in China. America’s economy has kept growing, but always into a headwind. A year ago, the Federal Reserve had expected to raise interest rates four times in 2016. Global frailties put paid to that.

put paid:打ち砕く

Now things are different. This week the Fed raised rates for the second time in three months—thanks partly to the vigour of the American economy, but also because of growth everywhere else. Fears about Chinese overcapacity, and of a yuan devaluation, have receded. In February factory-gate inflation was close to a nine-year high. In Japan in the fourth quarter capital expenditure grew at its fastest rate in three years. The euro area has been gathering speed since 2015. The European Commission’s economic-sentiment index is at its highest since 2011; euro-zone unemployment is at its lowest since 2009. 

Economic sentiment indicator Index: The Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) is a composite indicator made up of five sectoral confidence indicators with different weights: Industrial confidence indicator, Services confidence indicator, Consumer confidence indicator, Construction confidence indicator Retail trade confidence indicator. Confidence indicators are arithmetic means of seasonally adjusted balances of answers to a selection of questions closely related to the reference variable they are supposed to track (e.g. industrial production for the industrial confidence indicator). Surveys are defined within the Joint Harmonised EU Programme of Business and Consumer Surveys. The economic sentiment indicator (ESI) is calculated as an index with mean value of 100 and standard deviation of 10 over a fixed standardised sample period. Data are compiled according to the Statistical classification of economic activities in the European Community.

The bellwethers of global activity look sprightly, too. In February South Korea, a proxy for world trade, notched up export growth above 20%. Taiwanese manufacturers have posted 12 consecutive months of expansion. Even in places inured to recession the worst is over. The Brazilian economy has been shrinking for eight quarters but, with inflation expectations tamed, interest rates are now falling. Brazil and Russia are likely to add to global GDP this year, not subtract from it. The Institute of International Finance reckons that in January the developing world hit its fastest monthly rate of growth since 2011. 


This is not to say the world economy is back to normal. Oil prices fell by 10% in the week to March 15th on renewed fears of oversupply; a sustained fall would hurt the economies of producers more than it would benefit consumers. China’s build-up of debt is of enduring concern. Productivity growth in the rich world remains weak. Outside America, wages are still growing slowly. And in America, surging business confidence has yet to translate into surging investment. 


Entrenching the recovery calls for a delicate balancing-act. As inflation expectations rise, central banks will have to weigh the pressure to tighten policy against the risk that, if they go too fast, bond markets and borrowers will suffer. Europe is especially vulnerable, because the European Central Bank is reaching the legal limits of the bond-buying programme it has used to keep money cheap in weak economies. 


The biggest risk, though, is the lessons politicians draw. Donald Trump is singing his own praises after good job and confidence numbers. It is true that the stockmarket and business sentiment have been fired up by promises of deregulation and a fiscal boost. But Mr Trump’s claims to have magically jump-started job creation are sheer braggadocio. The American economy has added jobs for 77 months in a row. 


No Keynes, no gains
Most important, the upswing has nothing to do with Mr Trump’s “America First” economic nationalism. If anything, the global upswing vindicates the experts that today’s populists often decry. Economists have long argued that recoveries from financial crashes take a long time: research into 100 banking crises by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University suggests that, on average, incomes get back to pre-crisis levels only after eight long years. Most economists also argue that the best way to recover after a debt crisis is to clean up balance-sheets quickly, keep monetary policy loose and apply fiscal stimulus wherever prudently possible. 

If anything:むしろそれどころか

Today’s recovery validates that prescription. The Fed pinned interest rates to the floor until full employment was in sight. The ECB’s bond-buying programme has kept borrowing costs in crisis-prone countries tolerable, though Europe’s misplaced emphasis on austerity, recently relaxed, made the job harder. In Japan rises in VAT have scuppered previous recoveries; this time the government wisely deferred an increase until at least 2019. 

to the floor:議案を会議にかける
in sight:すぐ起こりそうで

The tussle over who created the recovery is about more than bragging rights. An endorsement for populist economics would favour insurgent parties in countries like France, where the far-right Marine Le Pen is standing for president. It would also favour the wrong policies. Mr Trump’s proposed tax cuts would pump up the economy that now least needs support—and complicate the Fed’s task. 


Fortified by misplaced belief in their own world view, the administration’s protectionists might urge Mr Trump to rip up the infrastructure of globalisation (bypassing the World Trade Organisation in pursuing grievances against China, say), risking a trade war. A fiscal splurge at home and a stronger dollar would widen America’s trade deficit, which may strengthen their hand. Populists deserve no credit for the upsurge. But they could yet snuff it out. 

strengthen their hand:立場を有利にする
no credit:評価に値しない

世界の景気が色々な指標を見ていくと上昇傾向にあり、景気が回復して来ている。しかしながら、ポピュリストの右翼であるオランダのGeert WildersとかフランスのMarine Le Penの動きが気になる。彼らが力を持ったら、せっかくのこの景気が台無しになってしまう。トランプの減税政策もピントが合っていない。America Firstなんて言ってるようじゃあ、話にならない。

なかなかの辛辣な意見だ。まともなことを言っている。やっと景気が回復して来そうなところに、ヨーロッパの右翼の動きが気になるところだ。Geert Wildersは心配したほど表を伸ばさなかった。あとはフランスのMarine Le Penの動きがどうなるか心配だ。いちばんの懸念はアメリカの保護主義だ。このままではせっかくの世界の景気回復の足を引っ張るかもしれない。困ったものだ。


swingby_blog at 23:18コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 

一つの中国政策とはなんだ。 ほとんど何も意味していないが、多くのことを成し遂げてしまう注意深書かれたでっち上げ

What is the one-China policy?
A carefully worded fudge that means very little but accomplishes a lot
Mar 14th 2017by J.M.


“THERE is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is part of China,” declared China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, at a news conference in Beijing on March 8th. That is not quite the way that Taiwan sees it. At least, Taiwan does not accept that it is part of the People’s Republic of China, with its capital in Beijing. So why then does America say it upholds a “one-China policy”? And why were Taiwanese officials relieved when Donald Trump, having earlier challenged the “one China” notion, expressed support for it in a phone call with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, in February? 

relieved :安心する

It is hard to argue that Taiwan is anything other than a separate country. The island has its own, democratically elected, president. It has its own laws and its own armed forces. But its official name is the Republic of China (ROC). It has a notional claim to the area that is now described as the People’s Republic. That is a legacy of the Chinese civil war, which resulted in the overthrow of the ROC by Mao Zedong in 1949. Its defeated government fled to the Chinese province of Taiwan, where it continued to call itself the government of all China. Since then there have been, in effect, two Chinas, both claiming the same territory (unlike the People’s Republic, the ROC also includes Mongolia within its theoretical borders, but it treats it as a different country). 

anything other than:別々の国家であること以外は議論し難い

The government in Beijing, however, abhors the idea of two Chinas. It upholds what it calls a “one-China principle”: that it alone represents China, and Taiwan is part of that (Communist-run) China. This presented a problem in the 1970s, when America wanted to establish diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic and seek its help in the cold war against the Soviet Union. The Communists wanted America to accept its one-China principle, but America did not want to turn its back entirely on capitalist Taiwan, which it had hitherto recognised as the rightful China. 

hitherto :今まで

So it devised a “one-China policy”, which was simply to acknowledge that both sides of the Taiwan Strait recognised the existence of only one China (their own). The policy did not clarify which side had the right to rule Taiwan. It was a carefully worded fudge, which the Communists accepted. As a result, America and the People’s Republic forged a relationship that eventually allowed China’s economy to boom (and others, including America and Taiwan, to benefit from that, too). 


Many people in Taiwan are now sceptical about the one-China idea. They want the island to be separate from the mainland forever. But they are also fearful of provoking the Communists. China’s military power has grown enormously in recent years. If America were to abandon its one-China policy, and acknowledge Taiwan’s independence, there is a considerable risk that Communist China would attack the island and that America, feeling obliged to defend it, would be dragged into a war. Hence no government was sorry when Mr Trump decided to tell Mr Xi that America still believed in one China. Taiwan will only hope that the one China in question is not just the People’s Republic. 





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共和党は健康保険市場をどのように変更しようとしているのか。 この記事はオバマケアを抜本的に改革しようとしている共和党の計画の2部作のうちの2番目のものだ。

How Republicans want to change the health-insurance market
This is the second of a two-part explainer on Republican plans to overhaul Obamacare. 
Yesterday we examined proposals for Medicaid Mar 14th 2017by H.C. 


MOST Americans of working age get health insurance from their employers. But many—such as the self-employed, the unemployed and those working for small firms—must buy it for themselves. Before the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, this market did not function well. Healthy people could get cheap coverage, but if they fell chronically ill, insurers found it easy to boot them off their plans or limit their coverage. Obamacare made the market work better, at a cost to some buyers and to taxpayers. Now Republicans want to overhaul it again, with the American Health Care Act (AHCA). What would they do to it, and why? 


Obamacare’s market has many different cogs. The most popular—which Republicans would keep—is a requirement that insurers sell people insurance even if they are already sickly. That drives up premiums, which risks driving healthy people from the market. Accordingly, the “individual mandate” requires that everyone has to buy insurance or pay a penalty. At the same time, a thicket of regulation guarantees minimum standards of coverage, to stop insurers designing skimpy plans that attract only healthy buyers. 


To facilitate sales, the law established “exchanges”, government-run marketplaces where such people could shop around for insurance. Finally, to make care affordable, the law offers tax credits to those with incomes beneath 400% of the poverty line ($47,550 in 2017 for an individual) to help them pay their premiums. The help any given buyer gets is pegged to the prices she faces, which vary by age and location. Extra money helps the poorest buyers pay their out-of-pocket costs. 

tax credits:税額免除

Republicans have spent years promising to tear down most of this edifice. But without 60 votes in the Senate, they can get at only bits of it. As a result, the AHCA leaves many of Obamacare’s rules intact. But, crucially, the bill gets rid of the individual mandate. In its stead, anyone who goes without insurance for any period would have to pay 30% more in premiums, for one year, if they return to the market. The AHCA also radically overhauls the subsidies available through the exchanges. From 2020 tax credits would vary only by age, not income or geography (although they would taper off at high incomes). At the same time, subsidies for out-of-pocket costs would disappear entirely. 


If the AHCA passes in its current form, many of the 10m Americans who currently get subsidised insurance will no longer be able to afford it, unless prices fall dramatically. In places where premiums are high, the cuts to tax credits will be steep. In Alaska the average tax credit will fall by over 70%, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a think-tank. Older buyers will be particularly badly affected, given insurers’ newfound freedom to charge them more. A 64-year-old earning $26,500 can currently expect to pay $1,700 for coverage, after tax-credits. 


Official projections show that soaring, to $14,600 by 2026, under the new law. Prices should fall for the young, but probably not enough to keep plans within reach for everyone. Another worry is that the replacement for the individual mandate is weak. Premiums are expected to rise 15-20% in 2018 and 2019 as more healthy people go without coverage. If states use grants from Washington to shore up the market, premiums should start to fall in 2020. But if they were to continue to rise, the AHCA’s tax credits, unlike Obamacare’s, would not go up in tandem. More healthy people would leave the market. Republicans claim that Obamacare is already in a “death spiral”. Under the worst-case scenario, the AHCA would be sure to hasten it. 


この記事はオバマケアに代わってトランプが推奨しているAmerican Health Care Act (AHCA)のことを書いているが、いい記事だ。なぜ議会で否決されたのがよくわかる。65歳上の年収26500ドルの低所得者がオバマケアでは1700ドルの費用で健康保険に入れたのが。新しい制度では2026年には14600ドルになってしまう。どう考えても馬鹿げている。補助金も様々な形で考えられていたものがほとんど廃止されてしまう。共和党はオバマケアは死に体だと言っているが、今度の提案した制度はさらに拍車をかけてダメになりそうだ。



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北朝鮮の脅威はもはや笑い事ではない。 金正恩もしくは彼のエスカレートしている攻撃的な行動をどう扱っていいのかだれにもわからない。

The threat from North Korea is no laughing matter
No one knows how to handle Kim Jong Un or his escalating belligerence
MARCH 15, 2017 by: Roula Khalaf


Soon after Donald Trump’s inauguration, a joke made the rounds on Twitter, picturing a laughing, spiky-haired Kim Jong Un.
“I no longer craziest leader,” screamed the headline.
It was brilliantly funny — for a moment. Since then, the North Korean dictator has proceeded to show that he remains unchallenged for the title. He has taunted his neighbours with new ballistic missile tests and staged an extraordinary plot to assassinate his half-brother with a nerve gas agent. 


I thought about the joke the other day while listening to a diplomat describe Mr Trump’s unpredictability as an asset in dealing with North Korea. The argument went like this: Mr Kim might be deterred if he believed that the US president was as unhinged as he was. Peace on the Korean peninsula, in other words, may hinge on whether he buys into the Twitter meme. Not exactly reassuring. 


That such a prospect is a topic of discussion, though, underscores an uncomfortable truth: that no one has a clue how to handle Mr Kim or contain his escalating belligerence. Is he really crazy or does he just like to behave as if he is? Is he growing increasingly confident or desperately insecure? 

as if he is:そのままの彼であるかのように

Yet the clock is ticking. Singularly focused on his nuclear programme, no matter the consequences for his own population, Mr Kim’s regime will, in a matter of years, have the capability to strike US territory with nuclear weapons. Think of any kind of pressure, however, and it has been tried already, with limited impact if any at all. That includes sanctions. It also includes diplomacy. When the north was ruled by Mr Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, the “Six Party Talks” between North Korea, the US, China, Russia, South Korea and Japan that began in 2003 produced an agreement to close nuclear facilities, but were dead two years later when Pyongyang walked out. Meanwhile, military action is not a credible threat, unless one is willing to risk a retaliation that blows up South Korea. Cyber warfare to sabotage missile test launches has been attempted too, but it is not clear whether it has been effective. 

if any at all:少しでもあるとしたら

Throwing the ball into China’s court has been convenient and, to a certain extent, rational since Mr Kim’s regime is dependent on Chinese support. But China is in a bind, and it cannot handle North Korea on its own. It has tried to contain Pyongyang but does not seem able to control it. It is not in a position to provide the regime with the security guarantees it craves and is getting increasingly agitated about the expanding US military role in its neighbourhood, in particular the deployment of the Thaad anti-ballistic missile defence system in South Korea. No wonder the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, warned last week that the US and North Korea were “like two accelerating trains coming towards each other with neither side willing to give way”. 

in a bind:困って

Mr Trump may be too busy fighting fictional wars at home to focus on such messy trouble so far away. At some point soon, though, he will no longer have a choice. His predecessor, Barack Obama, warned him as much during the transition. His lieutenants are now reviewing policy on North Korea, and US experts have produced reams of copy about how to deal with the North Korean supreme leader. 

so far away:非常に遠い
as much:それくらい

Some suggest an ugly, but perhaps necessary compromise: to avoid a war, the world must accept Mr Kim, giving him assurances that the US doesn’t seek to topple him. If he is more secure at home, he might miraculously turn into a semi-responsible member of the international community. Others dismiss this as appeasement and call for harsher sanctions against North Korea and China. And still others say go to war and threaten to nuke the north if it retaliates against the south. 


Given the high stakes, and the risk that Mr Kim is as unstable as his image suggests, it is clearly time for serious diplomacy, backed up with the threat of even tougher sanctions. Talks may never achieve a complete nuclear disarmament but even a freeze on the nuclear programme in the short term is worth a try. It may be difficult to imagine Mr Kim standing next to Mr Trump at the White House but it is not as wild a thought as the alternatives in this crisis. 




swingby_blog at 20:01コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 


ロシアの2018年の大統領選挙 投票は来年、この国を困らせるであろう経済危機の最中に行われる。(3)

Transfer of Economic Responsibility
The Russian government is in the midst of designing and implementing a strategy that entails offloading responsibility for addressing regional economic and social problems to local officials. With national revenue flow severely compromised by low oil prices and dwindling reserve funds, Moscow cannot afford to simply prop up regions by transferring funds. Rather, the government now seeks to mobilize each region’s internal resources for development and attract as much investment as possible. Ultimately, the Kremlin wants governors, mayors and citizens to assume more responsibility for the socioeconomic development of their regions because the federal government can no longer carry the economic burden. 

offloading :積み荷を下ろす
socioeconomic:社会経済 社会経済学とは、様々な製品・サービスの提供、市場介入や、組織や個人の活動、といった経済活動が、経済と社会にどのような影響を与えるか、と言うことを研究する学問である。

As part of this offloading process, the government has renewed its focus on programs to help develop single-industry towns. In 2009, Putin ordered the creation of a special group to study the status of Russia’s single-industry towns after the 2008 economic crisis. This group still exists today and has seen an uptick in its workload over the last two years. Russia currently has 319 single-industry towns, with 100 classified as being in the “red zone.” Towns in red zones face the country’s stiffest economic challenges and receive a special monitoring mission led by a government-appointed official whose job is to assess the economic status and external markets for export-oriented enterprises and possibly convert the town’s output for domestic consumption. Typically, the official also makes recommendations about how to improve the town’s economic situation. 

red zone:危険区域

Russia’s strategy calls for single-industry towns to diversify their economies in order to stabilize their economic condition. One major means to this end is establishing and developing small and medium-sized businesses. Moscow is also trying to motivate local citizens to carry out initiatives that help deal with economic problems at the municipal level. The funding for these projects is minimal and serves as yet another example of how funneling federal spending to the regions is no longer a viable option. For instance, subsidies for the Single-Industry Towns Fund will have an approximate budget of only $258 million for 2017-2019. This is a miniscule amount compared to the approved 2017 budget of $221.4 billion. Furthermore, the fund’s financial support in 2015-2016 benefited only 17 of the country’s 319 single-industry towns. There is simply not enough funding to consider this program successful or viable for transforming local economies. 

as yet :今までのところ

Offloading economic development burdens to the local level poses a risk to the federal government, once again illustrating that it is not as strong as it would like to appear. To some extent, the move entails distributing power rather than reining it in. However, the risk must be taken since Moscow simply does not have the funds to solve the economic problems that plague the federation. However, Russia has mitigated this risk by appointing governors with strong economic and investment backgrounds. Furthermore, the nature of Russian political culture will frame Putin in a positive light throughout the shift, further reducing risk. 


Historically, people hold local authorities and elites responsible for economic and social problems and are therefore likely to blame these local officials rather than Putin and the national government. In recent months, as people have observed increased economic hardships in their daily lives, those local figures have been seen as failing. Instead, people have begun to look toward Russia’s central political figure, Putin, to solve their problems. Putin’s leadership image resembles that of a czar in that he is both feared and revered. Propaganda plays on this image and creates a scenario where much of the public fears Putin but also views him as the only figure capable of leading them through this crisis. 


The upcoming 2018 election will offer a small starting point for opposition forces and a disgruntled electorate to conceive and potentially build a unified front. However, this front will not be able to transform itself into a large-scale, organized political movement in time for the election. The Russian population is no stranger to enduring economic hardships. It is also accustomed to seeing arrests and large fines as consequences for public protest against the government. 

disgruntled :不満な

This creates a certain level of reluctance to actively lash out against the government – a reluctance that requires severe hardships and desperation to be overcome. Although there will be protests and uprisings in the coming year, they will be too small to reach a critical mass; this is due, in part, to the varying levels and duration of hardship experienced by the Russian people. The building blocks for an organized and sizable Russian opposition force are currently taking shape. However, the assembly process has yet to start and, like most major construction projects, will take a long time to be completed. 

lash :痛烈に非難する




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ロシアの2018年の大統領選挙 投票は来年、この国を困らせるであろう経済危機の最中に行われる。(2)

Continued Power Consolidation
Putin still monopolizes power in Russia and enjoys an approval rating of 86 percent. This figure, however, is misleading in that it gives the impression that Putin’s hold on power is more secure than it really is. As noted in our previous Deep Dive on Russia, Putin has dedicated much of his political capital and resources to consolidating his power via reforms in various government security bodies. By rebuilding his inner circle and revamping the power structure, Putin has demonstrated that he needs to extend his power network to ensure that his decrees and policies are implemented correctly and dissenters are crushed. 


The report also noted that Putin needed to ensure that his United Russia party won the September 2016 parliamentary elections to guarantee Duma support for the upcoming presidential election. United Russia, and therefore Putin, saw a substantial victory at the polls, winning 54 percent of the popular vote. Even so, United Russia saw a 12.5 percent decline in the number of actual votes cast compared to 2011. In the 2011 election, 60.2 percent of eligible voters participated and United Russia won 32 million votes, accounting for 49 percent of the popular vote. However, voter turnout was markedly lower in 2016, at 47.8 percent. While United Russia won 54 percent of the popular vote, the party brought in only 28 million votes. Therefore, voter support for United Russia appears to have declined in terms of real numbers. 

popular vote:一般有権者による投票

Russia faces a number of social and economic problems that have resulted in unrest. For instance, after oil prices dropped in late 2014, Russia began to experience economic and labor protests. Such incidents began in 2015 with those most immediately affected by the low prices; as the impact of oil prices has continued to spread across the country, protests have escalated and continue today. Wage arrears (workers owed back pay), which affect both public and private workers, have become increasingly problematic in oil-dependent and single-industry economies throughout Russia’s interior and at port cities. The Center for Social and Labor Rights reported that 54 percent of observed protests in 2016 were due to wage arrears. 

back pay:未払い賃金

Cuts in government social programs that affect payments to veterans and children have also led to public protests. Furthermore, unemployment in Russia has been on the rise since October 2016 reaching 5.6 percent in January. Other issues, such as general frustration with reduced standards of living due to economic strife, have also brought people to the streets. Economic and labor protests are still small, attracting protesters numbering in the low hundreds at most. These protesters, whose grievances are economic and social, have yet to align and merge with political opposition movements, but the growing and shared discontent with the Putin government is creating space that could facilitate and expedite such alignment. 


As economic and social problems persist, so do Putin’s moves to consolidate power in the security sphere and political arena. Severe financial constraints prevent him from solving the economic crisis in advance of the 2018 election, so he seeks to suppress and control economic unrest through increased security measures. On Feb. 2, the Russian government published a presidential decree that removed 16 generals from their posts in the Ministry of Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of National Disasters (EMERCOM) and Interior Ministry, replacing them with officials selected by Putin. 

sphere :領域

Thirteen of the dismissals were in EMERCOM, the government office responsible for responding to civil defense, public unrest and protests. The ministry is divided into eight regions and three special directorates (Moscow, Crimea and Sevastopol). The dismissals primarily affected three regions: the Caucasus, the Far East and cities within Moscow’s reach. Each of these regions has seen reports of increased unrest due to bankruptcy, wage arrears, cuts in education funding and decreased funds for veterans programs. The reshuffling of EMERCOM authorities shows that Moscow deems the threat of unrest as serious and wants to keep matters from escalating by having trusted officials in place to carry out government policies. 


Putin’s most recent move to consolidate his political power at both regional and national levels is a purge of Russian governors. This is an important move because of the significant interplay between governors and members of the national government, who often work together, depend on each other, and look out for one another’s interests. Gubernatorial elections were reintroduced in 2012. But, while the law to reintroduce them was making its way through the system, over 20 governors were reappointed by the Kremlin, delaying elections in these locations until 2017. Then, in 2013, Putin signed a law that permitted regional legislatures to decide between directly electing governors or having the regional legislature select and appoint a governor from a candidate short list drawn up by Putin. 


Regional governors, in turn, play a role in appointing members to Russia’s Federation Council, the country’s upper chamber of parliament. The council consists of two representatives from each of Russia’s 83 federal entities. One representative is chosen by the regional legislature and one is selected by the region’s governor. The length of the representative’s term varies with the federal entity. Built in this system is a level of reciprocity between governor and president, further allowing Putin to consolidate power. 

reciprocity:互恵主義 見返り主義

He is able to ensure a candidate gains a gubernatorial office; in return, the governor can appoint a pro-Kremlin member to the council. This relationship becomes even more important when one considers that the council is the body that approves presidential decrees for martial law, declares a state of emergency, deploys troops abroad, oversees the presidential appointment for attorney general, and decides impeachment verdicts. 

attorney general:司法長官

In late December 2016, the St. Petersburg Politics Foundation, an institution close to the Kremlin, anticipated the 2017 removal of 10 governors whose terms were set to expire later this year, and whose replacements would be appointed. Those named were governors from Buryatia, Perm, Ivanovo, Karelia, Novgorod, Pskov, Ryazan, Samara, Saratov and Sverdlovsk. Since early February, these governors have begun to resign from their posts. To date, there have been gubernatorial resignations in Ryazan, Novgorod, Buryatia, Karelia and Perm with new governors appointed by Putin. In January, the same foundation also identified other “underperforming” governors whose terms could also be brought into question. They are from Tomsk, Mordovia, Belgorod, Novgorod, Pskov, Nizhny Novgorod, Orel and Samara. 


Putin’s ultimate aim is to remove governors who have fallen out of favor in regions where social unrest is becoming more commonplace and replace them with people the national government considers to be more capable because of their abilities to develop relationships with local elites, their lack of involvement in corruption, their positive track records with macroeconomic-related work, and their willingness to support Putin’s policies. Putin has signaled he wants the replacement governors to be young technocrats. So far, five governors have been replaced. 

The newly appointed governors are, on average, 20 years younger than their predecessors and have few ties to politics. Appointing candidates with minimal political ties serves two purposes. First, it means that the governors derive their power entirely from the Kremlin’s consent, which forces them to be highly accountable to Moscow. Second, the lack of political ties allows them to forge relationships with more varied interest groups and local elites. 

The new governors’ ages and technical backgrounds in economics and investment are seen as advantages for carrying out ambitious regional projects that, if successful, would put the economy back on track, quell unrest, and make the national government appear more favorable to voters. The Russian government also expects the youthful officials to be more motivated and ambitious than their predecessors. Additionally, Moscow plans to draw on their backgrounds and expertise to assist with discovering and furthering economic and infrastructure challenges at the regional level. 


These new governors bring intangible values to the table such as drive and know-how. Moreover, they will ensure that pro-Putin members are appointed to the Federal Council and will not challenge Putin’s power. Even so, they will still face the same financial constraints and social demands of their predecessors. While they may be able to alleviate some problems, there is a limit to how far even the most capable of managers can stretch their budgets and resources. 





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