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Sergei Vadimovich Stepashin (Серге́й Вади́мович Степа́шин) (born March 2 1952, Lüshunkou, Chinamarker) is a Russianmarker politician, current Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federationmarker and former Prime Minister of Russia. He was appointed federal security minister by President Boris Yeltsin in 1994. He resigned his position in 1995 as a consequence of the Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis.

Sergei Stepashin graduated from the Higher Political School of the USSR Ministry of the Interior (1973), in 1981 - from the Military and Political Academy, in 2002 - from the Finance Academy under the Government of the Russian Federation. He is a Doctor of Law, Professor, and has a rank of the State Advisor on Justice of the Russian Federationmarker. His Military rank is Colonel-General.

He became justice minister, serving from 1997 to March 1998, and interior minister, holding that office from March 1998 to May 1999, when he was appointed and confirmed by parliament as prime minister. Yeltsin made it fairly clear when he appointed him Prime Minister that Stepashin would only hold the position temporarily, and he was replaced in August 1999 by future president Vladimir Putin.

Stepashin's attitute towards the Chechen conflict was markedly different from that of Vladimir Putin. Stepashin had, for example, presented leaders of the separatist regime in Chechnya with monogrammed pistols, praised the activities of the religious extremists who had taken over several Dagestani villages, and had proclaimed publicly: "We can afford to lose Dagestan!".

Following his resignation from the position of Prime Minister, Stepashin joined the political party Yabloko for the Russian parliamentary elections of 1999 and was elected to the Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament. Later on he resigned his parliamentary seat and became head of the Account Chamber of the Russian Federation, the federal audit agency. He holds his job to date.

Boris Yeltsin stated in 2005 that he considered Sergei Stepashin for his successor for President but was unhappy with his lack of enthusiasm over the Chechen War.

Most recently, he has been asked by lawyer's for Hermitage Capital, once among Russia's top foreign investors, to investigate what it says was a series of fake tax refunds which defrauded Russian taxpayers of 11.2 billion roubles ($382 million), according to lawyers Brown Rudnick in a letter to Stepashin.



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