Models of Career Trajectories of the Heads of Russian Regions

Models of Career Trajectories of the Heads of Russian Regions

Barsegyan V.M.,

Senior Researcher, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Utrecht University,

elibrary_id: 636790 | ORCID: 0000-0002-4556-9415 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2019.04.10
Rubric: Russia Today

For citation:

Barsegyan V.M. Models of Career Trajectories of the Heads of Russian Regions. – Polis. Political Studies. 2019. No. 4. P. 132-148. (In Russ.).

The work has been prepared within the framework of the Russian Foundation of Basic Research project No. 17-33-01034 (a2) “Factors of career mobility in political activity in modern Russia”.


This study investigated the models of career trajectories for the acting heads of constituent entities within the Russian Federation, starting from entering the political and administrative sphere in 1991 and ending with the position preceding the governor’s post. The empirical base of the study was biographical information on the 85 heads of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation acting on May 28, 2018. The author developed a method for identifying models of career paths that differ in length and homogeneity. It is shown that the governor’s pool is 60% formed by people from regional elites, represented by deputy governors, chairmen of legislative assemblies; deputies of the State Duma; and heads of cities, including mayors, heads of administrations and their deputies. It was revealed that positions in law enforcement agencies and positions in business structures do not provide direct access to the governor’s seat, but experience in these structures, as well as experience of municipal service, is an important characteristic of the heads of regions. Based on the analysis of career mobility, three types of career trajectory models were identified: 48 short-term dyad models, 25 medium-term triad models, and 4 long-term tetrad models, reflecting career movement patterns of different homogeneity. It was revealed that the level of intergroup professional movements in the short and medium term is relatively low: people mostly move within their spheres, within the same level and branch of government. However, in the long term, intersectoral career mobility increases. This means that there are no stable long-term strategies for reaching the governor’s chair, which can be explained by frequent changes in electoral legislation. In addition, we were able to fix the models of entry of “golden youth” into politics through state and municipal institutions; highly specific models of career trajectories of security forces in civilian agencies and confirm the role of presidential embassies as universal personnel forges for all branches and levels of government. 

social mobility, carrier mobility, carrier trajectories, models of carrier trajectories, governors, heads of subjects of Russian Federation.


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Content No. 4, 2019

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