Accessibility links

UFA, Bashkortostan -- The Russian government has appointed a new Federal Security Service (FSB) chief in the Bashkortostan office, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

General Viktor Palagin will replace Igor Cernokov, who was reportedly close to Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov.

In recent months, Moscow has changed the heads of Bashkortostan's Supreme and Arbitration Courts, as well as the republic's interior minister, who reports directly to the Kremlin.

The personnel changes are seen as making Rakhimov's position as president more vulnerable.

Earlier this week, a short list of Rakhimov's possible successors was made public in Ufa, the capital.

Rakhimov, 74, has ruled Bashkortostan for nearly 20 years.