To no one's surprise, the parliament of the Karachayevo-Cherkessia Republic today approved
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's proposed candidate to succeed Boris Ebzeyev as the republic's president.
The 70 (of a total of 73) deputies present voted unanimously to confirm Rashid Temrezov, 35, whom Medvedev had named acting president
after accepting Ebzeyev's dismissal on February 26.
That the outcome of the vote was not open to question is clear from the fact that "numerous" invitations to Temrezov's inauguration today had already been sent out. Among the invitees are leaders of neighboring republics, including Chechnya's Ramzan Kadyrov, with whom Temrezov reportedly enjoys
"very good relations."
The reasons for Ebzeyev's dismissal remain unclear. Commentators view with skepticism the hypothesis that he was made a scapegoat for the underperformance of the economy of what is a largely agricultural region. They point out that the economy performed no worse under Ebzeyev than under his predecessor, Mustafa Batdyev. Indeed, industrial production last year rose by almost 14 percent
On the other hand, Ebzeyev, a former Constitutional Court judge, alienated many by insisting on selecting government ministers on the basis of their competence rather than adhere to an unwritten agreement on which ethnic group was entitled to which of the three top posts, an approach that he was constrained by North Caucasus Federal District head Aleksandr Khloponin to abandon in the spring of 2010
Some observers have suggested that Temrezov is "Batdyev's man," and that his appointment heralds the return to prominence and influence of an interest group headed by Batdyev. Veteran commentator Sergei Markedonov, however, warns that this will not necessarily happen
. The fact remains, however, that it was Batdyev who first promoted Temrezov to a senior post.
But Temrezov's connection with Batdyev also has a negative aspect, insofar as Temrezov is known to have been at the dacha near Cherkessk of Batdyev's then son-in-law Ali Kaitov on the day in October 2004 when several of Kaitov's business rivals were brutally killed
, and subsequently testified as a witness
at Kaitov's trial.
Kaitov was sentenced to 17 years in prison for the multiple murders, but reportedly could qualify
for early release at some point this year.