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First female mayor of Yakutsk resigns due to health problems

Mayor Sardana Avksentieva from the eastern Siberian city of Yakutsk has announced that she is stepping down ahead of schedule for health reasons. 

My family is seriously concerned about my health. The reason — stress and constant anxiety for the city. I must admit that I can no longer work 24/365. I go to the hospital tomorrow, [I’ll have] surgeries soon [...] I ask [you], dear employers, to let me go with a light heart and wish me luck in a new stage of life! Please accept my decision. Today, January 11, I will submit a statement of resignation to the Yakutsk City Duma. 

The mayor’s office clarified that Avksentieva underwent in-depth medical tests last fall, which revealed heart problems. Following surgery, Avksentieva will require further treatment and rehabilitation, which “may take a long time.”

The Yakutsk City Duma will have to make a decision on Avksentieva’s resignation on January 14. Her first deputy, Evgeny Grigoriev, will then take over as acting mayor. In an Instagram post, Avksentieva urged her subscribers to support Grigoriev in the next mayoral elections. The two also met with Yakutia’s regional head, Aysen Nikolayev, who supported Grigoriev’s candidacy. 

Sardana Avksentieva with the Head of Yakutia Aysen Nikolayev (right) and Yakutsk’s First Deputy Mayor, Evgeny Grigoriev, after the announcement of her resignation. 

Sardana Avksentieva was elected mayor of Yakutsk in 2018. During the elections, she defeated United Russia’s candidate, Alexander Savvinov — who had the support of the head of Yakutia, — to become the first-ever female mayor of Yakutsk.

In July 2020, Avksentieva voted against the amendments to the Russian constitution. Then in November, she announced the sale of city hall — according to her, government officials “don’t have to sit in an expensive building in the very center of the city.”

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