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KGB stalwart new Cyprus ambassador

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Former KGB officer Murat Zyazikov, once President of the Russian Republic of Ingushetia, has been appointed Russia’s ambassador to Cyprus, according to a decree by the Kremlin.

He succeeds Stanislav Osadchiy, who served as Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Cyprus since 2013.

His 65-year-old replacement studied history and law and served in key positions related to state security, especially in the Caucasus for the KGB and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union for the FSB as deputy director in the Astrakhan region.

He has closely cooperated with President Vladimir Putin as leader of Ingushetia in the Russian North Caucasus from 2002 to 2008.

Until 2012 he was an adviser to Putin on Cossack issues and, since October 2012, deputy plenipotentiary representative of the President in the Central Sector of Russia.

Zyazikov was a member of the KGB in the 1980s and its successor, the FSB.

In the 1990s, he became part of Ingushetia’s security council, and on May 23, 2002, he was elected president in controversial circumstances.

He is considered a close ally of Putin, especially because of his province’s proximity to Chechnya.

In 2004, Zyazikov was lightly wounded when a car bomb was rammed into his motorcade on the main road near the city of Nazran.

He blamed Chechen rebels for that attack and a June 2004 raid in Ingushetia that killed more than 90 people.

Despite close Cyprus-Russia ties, Nicosia has condemned Moscow’s invasion of the Ukraine.