North Caucasian Federal District changes envoy: Melikov's results and Belaventsev's expectations

North Caucasian Federal District changes envoy: Melikov's results and Belaventsev's expectations

By the order of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the presidential envoy in the North Caucasian Federal District was changed today: Sergey Melikov, who was appointed to this post on May 12, 2014, now became Deputy Commander of the Russian National Guard. He was replaced by Oleg Belaventsev, who previously worked as the presidential envoy in Crimea.

In an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza, the director of the Center for Ethnopolitical Studies of the 'Pyatigorsk State Linguistic University', Maya Astvatsaturova, spoke about Sergey Melikov's results on this post and about the prospects of Oleg Belaventsev's work. 

According to the expert, Sergey Melikov coped with all of his duties as the official representative of the president in Caucasus. "It was clear from the start that on this post, Melikov must show not only military and political style, which he has due to previous military service, but also his social and emotional outlook. I think he succeeded," she believes.

"He changed composition of the Public Council of the North Caucasian Federal District, established close contacts with civil society. Three consecutive civil forums 'Arkhyz' confirmed this. Third one ended last week, and there was a very lively dialogue between Sergey Melikov and leaders and activists of public organizations at this forum. Interaction with society is a very important aspect of his work," she noted.

"Over the years of work as the envoy, Sergey Melikov paid a lot of attention to the process of education, state of schools, universities and kindergartens, children's life in the region," the expert stressed.

Speaking about Oleg Belaventsev, she noted that he is one of the most trusted men of the Kremlin. "The fact that he has personal trust of the president is clear - otherwise he would not be appointed to such difficult region as Crimea and Crimean Federal District, which is now reorganized. He also has friendly and close ties with top officials of political and administrative elite, especially with Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. He also has significant experience in entrepreneurship, which is very important for work in the North Caucasian Federal District," she said.

At the same time, she stressed that new envoy will have to do a lot in order to work efficiently. "After all North Caucasus is not Crimea. It has its own serious specific character, and experience of Crimean political and administrative functioning can't be easily used in the North Caucasian Federal District. It is a different region: although ethnic groups are similar, but the interests of Russian, indigenous peoples and many diasporas in the North Caucasus are different from those in Crimea," she concluded.