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    Russian ex-election chief appointed ambassador to Latvia

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    MOSCOW, January 11 (RIA Novosti) - Alexander Veshnyakov, a former Russian top election official, has been formally appointed the country's ambassador to Latvia, the Kremlin press office said on Friday.

    Veshnyakov, who headed the Central Election Commission from 1995 to 2007, will start his diplomatic career replacing former Energy Minister Viktor Kalyuzhny as ambassador to the ex-Soviet Baltic state, now a European Union and NATO member.

    "[President] Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to appoint Alexander Veshnyakov Russia's Ambassador to the Republic of Latvia," the Kremlin said.

    Media reports said earlier that Latvia gave its approval of the candidate earlier this week after a delay caused by a political crisis in the country late last year, which led to the formation of a new government. Russia's parliament approved Veshnyakov for the job in October 2007.

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