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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Alkhanov Says Rumors About Resignation Are 'Groundless'

One day after Chechen President Alu Alkhanov announced that he would not seek a second term in office in 2008, the office of Dmitry Kozak, President Vladimir Putin's envoy to the Southern Federal District, was at pains to deny that a leadership change in the republic was in the offing.

Kozak's spokesman, Fyodor Shcherbakov, told Interfax on Thursday that "the issue of changing leaders in the republic of Chechnya is not being considered or discussed" by federal authorities.

Shcherbakov and Alkhanov both denied that the Chechen president planned to vacate his post before his term expires in August 2008.

"As for the various reports about my resignation, they are groundless," Alkhanov told Interfax on Thursday.

Alkhanov reiterated his intention not to seek another term as president.

Uncertainty surrounding Alkhanov's future was fanned, however, when the republic's de facto ruler, Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov, named Alkhanov's successor and promised to ease the plight of Chechens held in prisons across the country.

Kadyrov told his cabinet on Jan. 19 that he had already sent Putin a recommendation for the Chechen presidency: regional minister of social development and labor Magomed Vakhayev.

Presidential envoys are charged with recommending two or more candidates to become the leader of the regions in their federal districts. The president selects one candidate and nominates him or her to the regional legislature for approval.

Kommersant suggested that Kadyrov had proposed Vakhayev to President Putin in order to provide himself with a weak opponent for his own bid to become president of Chechnya.

"I'm not even thinking about competing with Ramzan Kadyrov for the post of president," Vakhayev told Kommersant in an interview published Thursday.