The governor of Russia's northwestern region of Karelia, Aleksandr Khudilainen, has become the fifth regional leader to step down in recent days.
Khudilainen told journalists on February 15 that he had submitted his resignation in order to give a candidate to be proposed by President Vladimir Putin time "to show himself in Karelia" before an election in September.
The Kremlin said hours later that Putin accepted Khudilainen's resignation and appointed the director of the federal bailiffs service, Artur Parfyonchikov, as acting governor of the region bordering Finland.
Khudilainen's resignation comes a day after the governor of the Ryazan region, Oleg Kovalyov, announced about his resignation. On February 13, the Novgorod region's governor, Sergei Mitin, resigned. Last week, the governors of Buryatia and the Perm Krai, Vyacheslav Nagovitsyn and Viktor Basargin, stepped down.
The five governors' resignations are widely believed to have been submitted at the request of the Kremlin, which oversees political processes nationwide.
Regional elections in September will be the last before a presidential election due to be held in March 2018.
Analysts say the Kremlin is seeking to bolster support and increase control ahead of the presidential vote, in which Putin is widely expected to seek a fourth term.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on February 14 that the resignations were part of "a routine rotation process" and called on journalists not to seek hidden motives.
With on reporting by RIA, Interfax, and TASS