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Siberian Governor Removed After Son Flees Italy House Arrest, Extradition to U.S.

Alexander Uss.

The father of a Russian smuggling suspect wanted by the United States has stepped down from his governor’s post in Siberia, a decree on the Kremlin website said Thursday.

Alexander Uss, 68, was appointed by President Vladimir Putin as acting head of the Krasnoyarsk region in 2017 and elected governor in 2018.

He is the father of entrepreneur Artyom Uss, 40, who was one of five Russians detained in Italy at the request of the United States in 2022.

Washington accuses the Russian nationals of illegal schemes to export U.S. military technology to Russia, bank fraud and sanction-breaching oil shipments from Venezuela.

Soon after their arrest in Italy last fall, Russia demanded Uss’ extradition on separate charges of fraud.

The younger Uss escaped house arrest in March one day after an Italian court approved his extradition.

He fled the country using an elaborate escape plan that involved a fake passport and a private jet. Italian media has reported that Uss was likely aided by Russia’s secret services.

On Thursday, the younger Uss’ name disappeared from the Russian Interior Ministry’s database of wanted persons.

Later that day, the Kremlin announced that the elder Uss had resigned as governor of the Krasnoyarsk region.

Putin appointed Mikhail Kotyukov, who had served as Russia’s science and higher education minister between 2018 and 2020, as acting governor in his place.

Uss' replacement — one of several that Putin has carried out in recent months — comes ahead of regional elections in September.

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