Rakhimov May Be on His Way Out

One of Russia's longest-serving provincial rulers, Bashkortostan's Murtaza Rakhimov, may be on his way out of office after he was not included on a list of candidates to serve as the region's next president, Rosbalt news agency reported Monday.

The Kremlin's envoy in the Volga Federal District, Grigory Rapota, instead named Altai Senator Ralif Safin, Bashkortostan Senator Rudik Iskuzhin and Andrei Sharonov, the managing director and chairman of Troika Dialog, as candidates, the report said, citing a source in Rapota's office.

Rakhimov's current term ends in 2011, after he was appointed to a five-year term by then-President Vladimir Putin in 2006.

The source said President Dmitry Medvedev has called for Rakhimov, who has headed the republic since 1991 and will turn 75 in February, to resign for health reasons. The source said the shortlisted candidates were selected because they had no links with the republic's elite.

Calls to the Kremlin's press service for comment went unanswered Monday evening.

Bashkortostan has often been at the center of corruption scandals involving Rakhimov's family. The Kremlin recently transferred Bashkortostan's police chief to North Ossetia and replaced him with Karelia's police chief.