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Daghestan Approves Outsider From Tatarstan As Prime Minister


Artyom Zdunov was previously economy minister of the Republic of Tatarstan.

An official from Russia's central Tatarstan region has been appointed prime minister of the North Caucasus region of Daghestan, following a roundup on fraud charges of several senior Daghestani officials.

Lawmakers in Daghestan on February 7 approved the appointment of Artyom Zdunov as the head of the republic’s government.

Daghestan’s acting head, Vladimir Vasilyev, who had proposed Zdunov for the post, later signed a decree confirming the appointment.

Addressing Daghestani lawmakers, Zdunov vowed to develop the republic's economy.

"We will work on attracting private investments…. We will work on restoring the image of Daghestan as a reliable and safe region for doing business," he said.

Zdunov was serving as Tatarstan's economy minister until February 7.

His appointment came two days after several senior government officials in Daghestan were detained on suspicion of misusing funds from Russia’s federal budget that were meant for social programs.

The officials included acting Prime Minister Abdusamad Gamidov and acting Deputy Prime Ministers Shamil Isayev and Rayudin Yusufov.

Vasilyev officially dismissed Gamidov, Isayev, and Yusufov on February 6 after they were detained on suspicion of misusing funds from Russia’s federal budget that were meant for social programs.

Authorities have sent the three fired officials to Moscow for questioning.

Vasilyev headed the parliamentary group of the ruling United Russia party at the State Duma in Moscow before he was appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in October as the acting head of Daghestan.

Daghestan in recent years has been at the epicenter of organized criminal gang violence linked to business turf wars, political disputes, clan rivalries, and the spread of militant Islam.

Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS
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