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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Ally Tapped

The director of the state-owned oil company Zarubezhneft, Oleg Popov, was replaced Friday by Nikolai Tokarev, former vice president of the state pipeline monopoly Transneft and colleague of President Vladimir Putin.

Zarubezhneft has significant interests in the South China Sea and Iraq. Last year the company provided 25 percent of Russia’s total budget income from the use of the state property.

While the information was released Friday, the change had been made more than two weeks ago by Energy Minister Alexander Gavrin.

Before moving to Transneft, Tokarev worked in former President Boris Yeltsin’s presidential administration together with Vladimir Putin before Putin became the head of the federal security service, or FSB.