Governor in Russia’s North Caucasus quits following protests

MOSCOW (AP) — A governor in Russia’s North Caucasus responsible for an unpopular land swap deal has stepped down.

Yunus-Bek Yevkurov said in a televised address on Monday that he was resigning as governor of Ingushetia. He did not mention the unpopular land deal but said he was stepping down because of profound differences among the region’s residents.

Yevkurov signed an agreement with neighboring Chechnya last year to exchange unpopulated plots of agricultural land, sparking large-scale protests. The deal and the secretive manner in which it was adopted fueled a popular view that authorities had betrayed people’s interests. Thousands of protesters took to the streets last year calling for Yevkurov’s resignation.

In December, Russia’s Constitutional Court overruled a decision by the region’s high court, which initially invalidated the deal.

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