Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed a new acting governor on Monday as the head of Russia’s eastern region of Khabarovsk.
The previous governor, Sergej Foergal, was arrested a week and a half ago on suspicion of involvement in multiple murders. His arrest sparked a wave of protests,
On Saturday, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in the 600,000-inhabitant city of Khabarovsk.
Fergal, 50, denies that he has anything to do with the murders of business people 15 years ago. His right-wing Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) calls the matter politically motivated. Foergal won the election in 2018 after defeating a rival to the ruling pro-Kremlin United Russia party.
Putin formally removed Fergal from his post on Monday and appointed Mikhail Degtjarjov, also an LDPR member, as acting head of the region. This is stated in a decree published on the Kremlin website.
The protests against Foergal’s arrest have now lasted more than a week. Its size is unusual for regions of Russia, as is the fact that the authorities have not yet acted against the activists.
Regional elections will be held in September next year. Then the inhabitants can again elect a new governor, according to the Russian election committee.