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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kamchatka Governor Steps Down

President Vladimir Putin has accepted the resignation of Kamchatka Governor Mikhail Mashkovtsev, the Kremlin said in a statement Wednesday.

Mashkovtsev's voluntarily resignation was connected to the merger of the Kamchatka region and the Koryak autonomous district, which residents approved in a 2005 referendum and which came into force in July, the Kremlin said.

Putin appointed Mashkovtsev's deputy, Alexei Kuzmitsky, as the acting governor, the Kremlin said.

Putin is required by law to nominate a candidate by Friday to be the first governor of the newly formed Kamchatka region, Regnum.ru reported. Kuzmitsky is one of three probable nominees, the news portal said.

Mashkovtsev has previously said he has no interest in heading up the new region.

Mashkovtsev, a Communist elected governor in 2004, was re-elected in December 2004 despite being under investigation on charges of misusing $5 million in state funds and illegally handing out salmon quotas. The charges were dropped in June 2005.