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Medvedev Names Leaders to Bashkortostan, Karelia

President Dmitry Medvedev has completed the latest regional reshuffle by appointing new leaders to Bashkortostan and Karelia, Interfax reported Saturday.

RusHydro deputy CEO Rustem Khamitov, 56, will become the president of Bashkortostan, replacing Murtaza Rakhimov, who resigned last week after 17 years in office.

In Karelia, former Federation Council Senator Andrei Nelidov, 53, will replace Sergei Katanandov, who resigned in June.

The appointments are expected to be confirmed this week by the regions' local legislatures, which are dominated by the ruling United Russia party.

Khamitov and Nelidov were among the candidates nominated by United Russia for the posts.

For Bashkortostan, United Russia also nominated local lawmaker Rudik Iskuzhin; the head of Bashkortostan's national bank, Rustem Mardanov; and Ufa Mayor Pavel Kachkayev.

Khamitov worked in Bashkortostan's government in the 1990s before moving to the federal administration. Analysts call him a choice that suits both Rakhimov and the Kremlin.

Nelidov's rivals, named by United Russia last week, were Karelian Prime Minister Pavel Chernov and Duma Deputy Viktor Kidyayev.

After Rakhimov's departure, the only long-serving regional boss with nationwide political clout is Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, whose fourth term expires in 2011.

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