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Putin Continues Regional Reshuffle By Replacing Novosibirsk Governor

Vladimir Gorodetsky is the fourth regional leader to be dismissed this week. (file photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the governor of the Novosibirsk Oblast, Vladimir Gorodetsky, pushing ahead with a reshuffle of regional leaders as the Kremlin gears up for the presidential election in March.

In a decree posted on the Kremlin website on October 7, Putin accepted Gorodetsky's resignation and appointed Andrei Travnikov -- until now the mayor of the western city of Vologda -- as acting governor of the large Siberian region.

The regional capital, also called Novosibirsk, is Russia's third-largest city, with a population of more than 1.5 million.

Gorodetsky is the fourth regional leader to be dismissed this week.

Since October 3, Putin has also replaced the heads of the North Caucasus region of Daghestan, Primorsky Krai in the Far East, and the western Oryol region.

In late September, the governors of the Russian regions of Nenets, Krasnoyarsk, Nizhny Novgorod, and Samara were replaced.

Russian media reports have attributed the regional political shake-up to preparations for next year's presidential election.

Putin is widely expected to seek and secure a fourth term, although he has not yet officially announced he will run in the March 2018 poll.

The Kremlin has relied on regional governors to secure predetermined levels of support for Putin in past elections that were heavily managed by Moscow.

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