Kabardino-Balkaria profile

President: Arsen Kanokov

Kabardino-Balkaria President Kanokov, left, with Russian President Vladimir Putin President Kanokov, left, with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Putin named Arsen Kanokov - a Moscow businessman and a member of Russia's lower house of parliament - as the successor to the ailing Valery Kokov in September 2005. The nomination was approved by the republic's MPs.

The president promised to fight corruption and to strive for a market economy. Mr Kanokov has said religious extremism is not deeply rooted in the republic and that the problem has been imported.

However, President Putin's representative in the North Caucasus has warned that, until social and economic conditions improve, Islamist groups will continue to attract disaffected youth in the republic.

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