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3 Jul, 2008 15:50

Abramovich quits as Governor

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has quit as governor of the Chukotka region in Russia's Far East. He was governor for eight years and put his own money towards raising living standards in what had been one of Russi

During his term Abramovich managed to curb unemployment in the region threefold and boosted  incomes by 500 percent. He planned to attract up to $US 4 billion worth of investment to the region leading up 2020.

He'd previously offered his resignation, but former President Vladimir Putin refused to accept it.

President Medvedev agreed to the retirement request and appointed Abramovich’s deputy, Roman Kopin, as acting governor.

Meanwhile, Abramovich’s spokesman said his retirement won’t affect his business projects and charity activities in Chukotka.

Roman Abramovich bio

Born in Saratov on Volga River on October 24, 1966.

Brought up as an orphan.

Worked as a mechanic at a local factory.

During the time of perestroika launched a toy producing business.

In early 1990s ran headed several businesses.

Joined a major oil company’s board of directors in 1996.

In 1999 elected Chukotka region’s deputy in the State Duma.

Two years later won governor’s election there, scoring 90 percent of votes.

In 2003 bought a controlling asset of London's Chelsea Football Club.

Divorced. Has five children.

In March 2008 Forbes magazine estimated Abramovich’s wealth at $US 23.5 billion, listing him as world's 15th richest person.

Chukotka’s new Roman

Roman Kopin was appointed Chukotka’s acting governor.

He’s a career civil servant in his mid 30s. He has been working in Chukotka’s administration since 1999, heading two of the region’s subdivisions in his time.

In April this year he took the position of deputy governor.

Kopin is married and has a son.

Chukotka residents concerned

Meanwhile, residents in Chukotka have expressed their concern over the region's future after Abramovich’s decision.

During the time Abramovich was at the helm living standards improved, schools and housing were restored and new investors were being drawn to the region.

A spokesman for Abramovich, however, said the former government would continue to put money into development in the Far East region and would not sever ties with Chukotka.