Sergei Ivanovich Furgal (Russian: Серге́й Ива́нович Фурга́л (pronounced foor-GAHL); born 12 February 1970) is a Russian politician who served as Governor of Khabarovsk Krai from 28 September 2018 until 20 July 2020. He was arrested on 9 July 2020.
|3rd Governor of Khabarovsk Krai|
28 September 2018 – 20 July 2020
|Preceded by||Vyacheslav Shport|
|Succeeded by||Mikhail Degtyarev (acting)|
|Member of the State Duma|
24 December 2007 – 27 September 2018
Sergei Ivanovich Furgal
12 February 1970
Poyarkovo, Amur Oblast, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
In 2008, Furgal was awarded the Honorary Diploma of the Chairman of the State Duma for his contributions to the development of legislation and parliamentarism in Russia.
In the 6th State Duma, he held the position of chairman of the committee on health protection from October 2015 to October 2016. From 2005 to 2007, he was a deputy of the Legislative Duma of the Khabarovsk Krai on a temporary basis. He holds a master's degree in Economics from the Russian Academy of Public Service, and a bachelor's degree in the medical field from Amur State Medical Academy.
When Furgal announced his candidacy in the 2018 gubernatorial election, he was widely seen as having little chance of victory, as incumbent Vyacheslav Shport was expected to win. In the first round, however, Furgal gained a surprise 35.81%, whilst Shport gained 35.62%. In the second round, Furgal was elected Governor of Khabarovsk Krai in a landslide, gaining 69.57%. His win was largely attributed to anti-establishment sentiment shared on both the left and right of the political spectrums. According to the Moscow Times, "Protest-minded voters in the region back then were ready to vote for anyone in order to defeat the candidate backed by the regime. ... Putin had personally backed the incumbent, Vyacheslav Shport, so Furgal’s refusal to quit the race was seen as unforgivable."
Furgal took office on 28 September 2018. Since then, his party has won a number of statewide and local elections. With the LDPR gaining a majority in the Legislative Duma of the Khabarovsk Territory, the City Duma of Khabarovsk, the City Duma of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, and two seats in the State Duma in 2019.
On 9 July 2020, Furgal was arrested by authorities on charges of involvement in multiple murders of several businessmen in the region and nearby territories in 2004 and 2005. He could face life in prison if convicted. Furgal denied the allegations.
Protests in support of Furgal began after his arrest. On 11 July, tens of thousands of people were estimated to have taken part in the protests in Khabarovsk against Furgal's arrest with slogans against President Putin, alleging the timing of the arrest was politically motivated - Furgal won by a landslide against the Kremlin's candidate in Khabarovsk Krai's gubernatorial election in 2018. While the rally was unauthorised, no arrests were made and police did not intervene.
One employee of the Russian presidential administration said on condition of anonymity that "The target set for my colleagues was to decrease the approval rating for governor Furgal, and prepare him for election defeat. They started working on Furgal now because they failed to fulfil the rating plan: he was too popular. The arrest is not about murders, it is solely about politics."
Furgal is the youngest of 10 children in his family. One of his brothers, Vyacheslav (1953–2020), a member of Khabarovsk regional parliament, died of COVID-19 on 13 June 2020. Furgal is married and has 3 children. His son, Anton (born 2 August 1991), is also a member of the Liberal Democratic Party.
- В Хабаровском крае в должность вступил новый глава региона. Far Eastern Federal District. 28 September 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
- Врачей для государственных больниц и поликлиник предлагают обучать бесплатно. Primgazeta.ru. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
- Сергей Иванович Фургал. ЛДПР
- Сергей Фургал избран председателем комитета Государственной думы по охране здоровья. Gubernia.com. 16 October 2015. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
- Russian Opposition Candidate On Track To Win In Gubernatorial Runoff. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 22 September 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
- 100% голосов подсчитано: губернатором Хабаровского края стал Фургал. MK.ru. 23 September 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
- "News Russia's city Khabarovsk rises against Vladimir Putin". Deutsche Welle. 4 August 2020.
- "Russia's In-System Opposition Gets Second Chance in Khabarovsk". The Moscow Times. 27 July 2020.
- Фургал вступил в должность губернатора Хабаровского края. Gazeta.Ru. 28 September 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
- "LDPR Became the "Party in Power" in the Khabarovsk Territory". VostokMedia (in Russian). 9 September 2019.
- Associated Press (9 July 2020). "Russian provincial governor arrested over killings of business rivals". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077.
- "Russian governor faces jail time over death of 15 entrepreneurs - EU-OCS - European Observatory of Crimes and Security". eu-ocs.com. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
- "Sergei Furgal: The arrest fuelling anti-Moscow anger in Russia's far east". BBC News. 17 July 2020.
- "Russia far east protest over Khabarovsk governor's arrest". BBC News. 11 July 2020.
- "В Хабаровске прошел самый массовый митинг в истории города — в защиту арестованного губернатора Сергея Фургала. Главное". Meduza. 11 July 2020.
- Kantchev, Georgi (12 July 2020). "Protesters in Russia's Far East Call for Putin to Resign". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660.
- Higgins, Andrew (11 July 2020). "Protests Rock Russian Far East With Calls for Putin to Resign". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
- "Anti-Putin Protests in Russia's Far East Gather Steam". VOA News. 25 July 2020.
- "Protesting Putin: Kremlin faces revolt in the regions". Financial Times. 6 August 2020.
- Сергей Иванович Фургал. ТАСС. TASS. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
- Ishchenko, Elena (1 July 2014). Три Фургала и все — кандидаты. Toz.su. Retrieved 11 August 2020.