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All change at the top of Odessa Regional Administration

October 11, 2016

With results of the weekend’s election results seemingly insuring Governor Saakashvili will remain in Ukraine, and possibly in the Odessa Governor’s post for some time to come, it appears the Saakashvili team will witness the appointment of several highly placed individuals imminently.

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Although yet to be confirmed, it seems the following appointments within Odessa Regional State Administration will very shortly be made:

Mikhail Lev, a Luhansk native and two-times graduate of Taras Shevchenko University, is to become the Chief of Staff of Odessa Regional Administration, and also assume the role of Vice Governor.

Born in Moscow, raised from a toddler in Ukraine, and spent his formative years in Italy, Dmitry Nataluha will become First Deputy Chairman of the Regional Administration.  (He currently heads the Liman Administration.)  He is a Cambridge graduate.

Arseney Zhumadilov, a LSE graduate, becomes the former head of the department charged with Crimean Tatar issues to assume the role of leading the Social Affairs Department within the RGA.

Naturally no amount of personnel changes will increase the exceptionally limited powers of the Governor to tackle vested interests, and neither will they bring genuine support from Kyiv to do so.

The question is whether it will bring about a more administratively effective Regional State Administration – or not.  That is how any Ukrainian RGA should be judged (regardless of whether the (internationally recognised or otherwise) Governor is a vocal critic of national policies, poor legislature and glacial reform agendas).

As such, when the aforementioned appointments are officially announced it would perhaps benefit the Oblast constituency to know what the goals will be, the strategies and policies to reach them, and a realistic timescale in which it is hoped they are accomplished.

National grandstanding aside, some (reiterating if necessary) basic policy and benchmarks to measure RGA efforts will perhaps be wise when it comes to local governance.

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