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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Nenets Balks at Order to Fire Senator

Nenets legislators on Friday defied an order from Moscow to sack their representative in the Federation Council, the second region to refuse to bow to the Kremlin in the week, NTV television reported.

The 14-member regional assembly in the remote Arctic region voted unanimously against recalling Alexander Sabadash, NTV said.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, searched the offices of the region's governor, Alexei Barinov, Interfax reported, in what could be a response to the legislators' defiance.

The Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement that a criminal case for embezzlement and misuse of budget funds had been opened against the governor.

The Nenets vote and a similar move by lawmakers in the Siberian region of Khakasia earlier in the week represented a rare challenge to President Vladimir Putin's government from provincial authorities, who usually toe the Kremlin line.

"Regional legislators are seen as voting machines. The orders come from above and you vote. There were no reasonable arguments, no discussion," Nenets lawmaker Vyacheslav Lysakov said in comments broadcast on NTV.