In a July 15, 2019 article, Abbas Gallyamov, a former speechwriter for Russian President Vladimir Putin, commented on how prevailing moods among the people in the upcoming September 8 Russian regional elections will determine a drift towards greater independence from the center.
Gallyamov wrote that the planned change in proportions between single-mandate deputies and deputies elected via a party electoral list will weaken the party discipline factor in the next State Duma in 2021. United Russia's deputies elected in the districts will, for the most part, be oriented towards regional administrations rather than the party leadership. Therefore, the moods that predominate in the regions are vitally important.
According to Gallyamov, people's moods are pushing towards greater independence from the center. He noted: "So it was a century ago during the revolution 100 years ago; the same occurred in the 1980s; and it will be so now – the trend is already noticeable. The weakening of the center in Russia always leads to the growth of liberal sentiments in the capitals and to anti-Moscow ones in the remote regions."
Gallyamov further stated that the increase in the number of single-mandate deputies representing regional interests will help shift the struggle into a "center-vs.-regions" relationship, providing fertile ground for "separatism." He added: "And later they will wring their hands and speak of the next largest geopolitical catastrophe of the century."
Below is Gallyamov's article:
Abbas Gallyamov (Source: Newizv.ru)
The Moods In The Regions Will Drift Towards Greater Independence From The Center
"The change in proportions between single-mandate deputies and deputies elected via [a party] electoral list, which, according to what the media wrote last week, is presumably planned by the Kremlin, will weaken the party discipline factor in the next State Duma. United Russia's deputies elected in the districts, for the most part, will be oriented towards regional administrations, rather than the party leadership.
"In this situation, whatever moods will be dominant in the regions have fundamental importance. And the moods will drift towards greater independence from the center. So it was a century ago during the revolution 100 years ago; the same occurred in the 1980s; and it will be so now – the trend is already noticeable. The weakening of the center in Russia always leads to the growth of liberal sentiments in the capitals and to anti-Moscow ones in the remote regions. The demand to take the wishes of local communities into account when making political decisions will increase.
"In case the new proportions will be introduced, the Duma can precisely become a platform from which regional representatives will launch an attack on the federal center. And the platform is suitable, plus [there] it is possible to coordinate – safety in numbers. You can even guess when all this will start – during the debates on the draft budget for the year 2022. If in 2021 after the [national legislative] elections they will not have time to organize, then in the following year they will almost certainly begin.
"As party discipline weakens, the chaos level in parliament will increase. To get their legislative initiatives through, the authorities will have to negotiate not with the leaders of the factions, but almost with each deputy individually. The Kremlin, in critical cases, having fully mobilized, can still cope with this task, but the government definitely cannot. Therefore, one additional problem will be added to all the existing economic ones - complete dependence in matters of legislative regulation on a crowd that is practically not controllable by anyone.
The Kremlin Is Preparing For The Fact That Soon The 'Systemic' Opposition Will Be Indistinguishable From The 'Non-Systemic'
"The option where the government will defend its interests, influencing single-mandate deputies through the governors, should be discarded as manifestly unrealistic. It is only when they sit in the cabinets of federal officials; our governors are modest and conciliatory. But when federal officials start asking them for favors, governors will definitely take it out [on them] for all the years of humiliation. The Presidential Administration will not make sacrifices for the government either. True professionals work there, and one of the most important professional qualities of the current Russian bureaucrat is the ability to shift responsibility onto your coworker, evading it yourself.
"It is unlikely that the Kremlin does not understand all of this. Why then take risks? Why do they prefer to see single-mandate deputies loyal to local authorities instead of 'systemic oppositionists'? The answer is simple: the Presidential Administration does not believe that the Duma opposition will remain 'systemic'. The Kremlin is preparing for the fact that soon the 'systemic' opposition will be indistinguishable from the 'non-systemic'. And the latter, as we have just once again seen in the history of elections to the Moscow City Duma, has no place in a legal institutionalized policy.
"Having simplified somewhat, the situation as a whole can be described as follows: the dominance of the deputies elected via electoral list ensures that the ideological struggle of the federal level will unfold in the parliament. The increase in the numbers of single-mandate deputies representing the interests of the regions will help transfer the struggle into a 'center-regions' relationship. [This provides] suitable soil for separatism.
"And later they will wring their hands and speak of the next 'largest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.'"
 Echo.msk.ru, July 15, 2019.