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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Former Minister Aksyonenko Dies

Nikolai Aksyonenko, former Railways Minister and a key member of former President Boris Yeltsin's inner circle, died after a long illness, Channel One television reported late Wednesday.

Aksyonenko, 56, was put in charge of the powerful Railways Ministry in 1997. He combined this job with the post of first deputy prime minister in the governments of Sergei Stepashin and later Vladimir Putin, and was once considered a candidate for prime minister.

In January 2002, President Putin fired Aksyonenko after he was charged by prosecutors with abuse of office that resulted in the loss of 70 million rubles ($2.3 million) in government funds.

However, he was allowed to leave the country to receive medical treatment.