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Kremlin Candidate Is Confirmed as Leader of Oil-Rich Tatarstan

Rustam Minnikhanov was confirmed as the new president of Russia’s oil-rich Tatarstan republic as the Kremlin seeks to retire an older generation of regional leaders.

Tatarstan’s parliament unanimously approved the Kremlin’s nomination of Minnikhanov, currently Tatar prime minister and chairman of OAO Tatneft, state television reported. He will take over the presidency from Mintimer Shaimiyev on March 25.

Shaimiyev, Tatarstan’s leader for more than two decades, is the second long-serving regional leader to leave his post since Russian President Dmitry Medvedev came to power in 2008. Shaimiyev, 73, tamed Tatar nationalism after the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991 while maintaining Tatarstan’s autonomy in Russia’s federal system.

Last year the Kremlin retired Eduard Rossel, in power as the governor of the Sverdlovsk region since 1991. Medvedev declined Shaimiyev’s bid for a fifth term as president, the Vedomosti newspaper reported last week. Shaimiyev’s departure is a signal to Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov and Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov, who have been in office since the early 1990s, Vedomosti said.

Tatarstan, located on the Volga River, has indigenous oil production and a machine-building industry.

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