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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Malakhov Resignation Not Linked with Quake

The Tuesday resignation of Sakhalin Governor Ivan Malakhov was not connected with last week's earthquake on the Far East island, but because he failed to receive President Vladimir Putin's approval for a new term, a senior federal official said.

Malakhov submitted his resignation because Putin decided not to approve his March request to be reappointed, said Kamil Iskhakov, presidential envoy to the Far East Federal District, Kommersant reported Thursday.

There had been speculation that Malakhov stepped down because of sharp public criticism from Putin over his handling of the aftermath of the earthquake, which killed two people and left more than 2,000 homeless on the island.

Malakhov told Kommersant that Sergei Sobyanin, the former Tyumen governor who is now Putin's chief of staff, told him last month that he would not be nominated for another term.

The Sakhalin regional legislature Thursday approved Putin-nominee Alexander Khoroshavin to replace Malakhov, Interfax reported.

Malakhov's resignation makes him the first governor to have his request for another term officially rejected since a 2005 law scrapping direct gubernatorial elections came into force.

Under the law, incumbents can seek the president's approval for a new term or wait until their mandates end and see whether the president nominates them. After receiving the president's blessing, the incumbent must then be approved by the regional legislature.

Malakhov was the fifth regional leader to resign since the law came into effect in January 2005, following the regional bosses in Kabardino-Balkaria and North Ossetia in 2005, Dagestan in 2006 and Novgorod, where Mikhail Prusak left office last week.

Under his new powers, Putin has fired three governors: Leonid Korotkov of the Amur region; Vladimir Loginov, of the Koryak autonomous district; and Alexei Barinov, of the Nenets autonomous district

Barinov is facing charges of fraud and embezzlement in an Arkhangelsk court, and prosecutors Wednesday requested that he receive a 10 year prison sentence.

Korotkov is accused of illegally increasing utility charges to finance a local football club, as well as mismanaging $4.8 million from regional coffers.

n A spokeswoman for Samara Governor Konstantin Titov denied a report Thursday that he planned to submit his resignation this week, Interfax reported.

Vedomosti reported Thursday that after a meeting with Sobyanin, Titov had decided to submit his resignation officially by Saturday.

"It's unclear where [this] information came from," Titov's spokeswoman, Lyudmila Takoyeva, told Interfax.