On 31 May, President Dmitri Medvedev accepted the resignation of the governor of Yakutia, Vyacheslav Shtyrov, two years before the end of the latter’s term in office. Shtyrov’s successor will probably be Aysen Nikolayev, who represents the younger generation of Yakutia’s political and business elite. The governor’s resignation, which was most probably caused by his conflict with the local elite, is an unprecedented move, and shows the boundaries which the Kremlin may be running into in the regions.
On 7 June in Istanbul, in the presence of the president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliev and the prime minister of Turkey Recep Erdogan, a range of documents was signed concerning bilateral gas cooperation. This represents significant progress in the gas negotiations between both countries, which have lasted several years, and is a signal of their joint intent to activate gas export to the West via the Southern Corridor (including the ITGI and Nabucco pipelines), which the EU has lobbied for. At the same time, however, the general character of signed documents – memoranda and declarations – indicates a need for further talks aimed at specifying the final terms for the sale and transit of the gas from Azerbaijan.