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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Stepashin Resigns His Post

The chairman of the Audit Chamber, Sergei Stepashin, stepped down Wednesday ahead of a debate on the legality of Russia's privatizations of the 1990s, saying the move was in line with a new law that requires the president rather than the State Duma to appoint him.

Stepashin, the man charged with reviewing the chaotic sell-offs, said his decision to leave the chamber was due to technical reasons and is not connected with the report he produced at the end of November, which criticized government officials for ignoring the law during the privatizations between 1993 and 2003.

"There is no conflict. ... The announcement of my resignation, which I submitted in mid-December, is related to meeting the requirements of the new federal law," Stepashin was quoted by Interfax as saying.

Under the new law, which came into force Dec. 3, the head of the Audit Chamber is nominated by the president and then appointed by the State Duma.

Stepashin told NTV television that his resignation was aimed at giving President Vladimir Putin "an opportunity to think about a new chairman," and said he and his deputy had already applied for reappointment.

Stepashin was scheduled to present his report to the Duma last month, but the session was put off after deputies voted to delay its publication until this spring.

"With his resignation, Stepashin wants to do Putin a favor and also set an example to governors who, like him, were elected according to an old law," said Mikhail Delyagin, head of the Institute for Globalization Studies and a former government economic adviser.