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Bashkortostan Opposition Lists Possible Nominees For President

Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov
Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov
UFA, Bashkortostan -- Opposition groups in Bashkortostan are discussing a short list of possible successors to long-serving President Murtaza Rakhimov, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Candidates include Russian parliament member Ralif Safin, the former director of LUKoil; former Deputy Russian Economics Minister Andrei Sharonov, the head of the Troika Dialog investment company; and Bashkortostan's representative in the Federation Council, Rudik Iskuzhin.

All are from Bashkortostan.

Safin participated in the 2003 presidential election that Rakhimov won, despite allegations of fraud.

Meanwhile, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev appointed Radiy Khabirov, of Bashkortostan, as his envoy to the Russian Duma.

Khabirov had served as Rakhimov's chief of staff for several years but is now estranged from Rakhimov.

Bashkortostan's president is appointed by the Russian president and approved by the Bashkir parliament.

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