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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kokoity Taps Russian for Premier

APKokoity walking past bodyguards in capital Tskhinvali on Wednesday.

A Russian businessman from Chelyabinsk, Vadim Brovtsev, was confirmed on Wednesday as the new prime minister of South Ossetia, the breakaway Georgian republic recognized only by Russia and Nicaragua.

Brovtsev, 40, will replace Aslanbek Bulatsev, also a Russian citizen who had been an official in the North Ossetian government before his appointment to the South Ossetian Cabinet earlier this year.

The rest of the government has yet to be formed, but Eduard Kokoity, the republic’s president, promised “big changes,” although he said security officials would not be replaced, Interfax reported. Kokoity dismissed Bulatsev on Tuesday, citing his poor health.

Kokoity proposed Brovtsev on Wednesday, and all but three of the parliament’s 27 members voted for him, the South Ossetian government said on its web site.

Brovtsev is chairman of the Vermikulit development company, which is involved in major construction projects in Sochi, according to its web site.

Also Wednesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said Moscow had issued 10 billion rubles ($320 million) to finance reconstruction effort in South Ossetia since the war last August, RIA-Novosti reported.

State Duma Deputy Gennady Gudkov, a leader of A Just Russia faction, said he thought that the replacement made sense in light of Russia’s investments in the region.

“Moscow doesn’t want to entrust the use of these not insignificant financial flows to local officials,” Gudkov said, Interfax reported. “To a certain extent, it also shows a certain distrust in South Ossetian president Eduard Kokoity’s ability to strictly and completely oversee the use of [these] funds,” he said.