Official Puts Career at Risk With Diatribe on Kremlin

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The president of the Russian republic of Bashkortostan, who has hung on by his fingernails through repeated periods of friction with the Kremlin, pushed his luck last week when he gave a scathing interview to a Moscow newspaper, charging that Russia’s political institutions were “embarrassing to look at” and that the country “is walking away from the process of democratization.”

Murtaza G. Rakhimov, 75, who has led Bashkortostan, an energy-rich southwestern region, since 1990, complained in Friday’s edition of the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets that leaders in Moscow had recreated the top-down, one-party rule that had prevailed during the Soviet Union.

He went on to attack United Russia, the governing party led by Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, for trying to subjugate homegrown leaders. Mr. Rakhimov was one of United Russia’s founders, and remains a member of its executive council.

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