Putin Picks Candidates to Lead Ingushetia and Dagestan

President Vladimir Putin has put forward his candidates to head the republics of Dagestan and Ingushetia, where lawmakers will pick their future leaders after popular elections were canceled in April.

Acting head of Dagestan Ramazan Abdulatipov, parliamentary speaker Malik Bagliyev and human rights commissioner Ummupazil Omarova were nominated by Putin as candidates for the republic's presidency, a statement on the Kremlin's website said Monday.

Abdulatipov, who has gained the support of five top parties in the republic, is expected to win the election on Sept. 8.

In Ingushetia, acting head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov is expected to win, thanks to the support he receives from the United Russia party. He will challenge Uruskhan Yevloyev, who heads the A Just Russia party's local branch, and deputy parliamentary speaker Magomed Tatriyev.

The decision to let lawmakers in the turbulent republics choose their leaders was explained by the ethnic complexity of Dagestan. Members of the opposition in Ingushetia were critical of the move saying that Ingushetia is a homogeneous republic, unlike Dagestan.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who visited the North Caucasus region on Monday to discuss economic development of the region, said that "direct elections should be held everywhere, but in the regions where political culture is different we can have a transitional period, which is a strictly temporary situation."

While meeting top government officials and heads of all North Caucasian regions, Medvedev mulled another increase in federal subsidies to the turbulent republics.

Despite government efforts, the North Caucasus is still Russia's most underdeveloped region, lagging behind in terms of industrial development and employment.

Given this situation, Medvedev has ordered the continuation of the South of Russia program until 2020 with total federal contributions increased to 230.2 billion rubles ($6.9 billion). The program has already received 43.6 billion rubles in funding from 2008 to 2012.

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