Russian president Vladimir Putin has appointed retired Vice Admiral Sergei Menyailo as the interim head of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania.
Menyailo was the first governor of Sevastopol following its annexation by Russia and served as Plenipotentiary of the President of the Russian Federation in Siberia.
The appointment is being seen of some significance. Although Menyailo has connections with North Ossetia - he was born there in 1960 and speaks fluent Ossetian - the appointment of such a heavyweight to the post means the Kremlin wants to consolidate its position in this strategic region.
Menyailo told the TASS news agency that, despite the vast spread of his previous work, he never lost touch with his small homeland. His parents are buried in North Ossetia and he often visited the republic. At the same time, Menyailo stressed, although he knows the region, he needs time to immerse himself in the current situation.
The TASS report noted that in this difficult border region, Menyailo's military experience will be useful, as will be the ability to work in extremely difficult situations, similar to the ones that he faced in Siberia.
Speaking to Menyailo by video link before his appointment Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that North Ossetia "has always been an outpost of Russia in this region."