Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday fired Arkhangelsk Region governor Ilya Mikhalchuk, whom he had earlier reprimanded over problems in the region’s public utilities sector.
Igor Orlov was appointed acting governor.
Mikhalchuk, 55, had headed the Arkhangelsk Region since 2008. He was previously the mayor of the Siberian city of Yakutsk, but left this post after a corruption scandal.
In October 2011 Medvedev threatened Mikhalchuk with dismissal over problems in the public utilities sector. “I really don’t understand what’s going on there. Is there a governor there or not?” Medvedev asked.
In the summer of 2011, many of Arkhangelsk city residents were left without hot water for months because of disputes between the region’s energy company and companies responsible for public services management.
Soaring utility bills across Russia have been a source of major public discontent with numerous complaints about inflated charges for low-quality communal services and opaque pricing formulas.
In March 2010, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin criticized Governor Mikhalchuk over wage arrears. Mikhalchuk was called in to the Prime Minister’s office to discuss the social and economic situation in the Arkhangelsk region, particularly the problems of wages owed to budget-dependent employees.
Putin warned recently that a number of governors faced the sack over rising utilities and housing maintenance fees if he returns to the Kremlin in March 4 elections.