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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tatarstan's Leader Seeks Putin's Blessing

President Vladimir Putin on Friday scored a victory in his drive to tame the regions when the most independent-minded regional leader, Tatarstan President Mentimer Shaimiyev, asked Putin to keep him in his job.

"Vladimir Putin expressed a wish that I stay for another term. Then I wrote a letter to him," Shaimiyev, 68, was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying Friday.

Shaimiyev's plea was seen by commentators as evidence that a handful of heavyweight regional leaders, with strong power bases at home, would not try to hamper Putin's efforts to strengthen his control.

A new law introduced this year as part of Putin's reform aimed at boosting the Kremlin's power, turned hitherto elected regional leaders into Kremlin-nominated officials. Several elected regional bosses, whose terms have not yet expired, have already asked Putin to re-nominate them in a show of loyalty.