Tue, 16 Jul 2019

The governor of Russia's Chelyabinsk Oblast has resigned and the governor of Murmansk Oblast has reportedly stepped down, amid media speculation that further shake-ups in the country's regional leadership could be in the offing.

President Vladimir Putin accepted the resignation of Chelyabinsk Oblast Governor Boris Dubrovsky on March 19, the Kremlin's website reported. Putin named First Deputy Energy Minister Aleksei Teksler as acting governor of the Urals region.

The same day, Murmansk Governor Marina Kovtun submitted her resignation, Russian media reported citing Kremlin sources.

Kovtun refused to confirm or deny the report when questioned by the RBK news agency.

Both Dubrovsky and Kovtun are members of the ruling United Russia party.

Dubrovsky was named acting governor of Chelyabinsk Oblast in January 2014 and was elected to the post in September of that year.

In August 2018, he was named as a suspect in a criminal investigation into illegal state tenders for road construction in the region.

Kovtun was appointed governor of Murmansk Oblast by then-President Dmitry Medvedev in 2012 and was elected to the post in September 2014.

The resignations come one day after the daily Kommersant reported that up to six regional governors could be replaced in the coming days.

Dubrovsky and Kovtun were named in the Kommersant report, as were Orenburg Oblast Governor Yury Berg, Kalmykia head Aleksei Orlov, and Volgograd Oblast Governor Andrei Bocharov.

The report quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying Putin would be working on 'regional issues' this week.

Eighteen regions are scheduled to hold gubernatorial elections in September.

With reporting by Kommersant, RBK, and Interfax RFE/RL's Russian Service

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