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'The Goblin': Crimean leader who pledges loyalty to Putin

Published on Mar 11, 2014 12:44 PM

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (AFP) - Sergiy Aksyonov, Crimea's new prime minister, is a shadowy businessman who prospered in the chaos of the post-Soviet era and now looks set to lead his region back into Russia's orbit.

Nicknamed "The Goblin", the 41-year-old strongly denies allegations he was involved in a criminal gang in 1990s post-Soviet Crimea.

He was sworn in as prime minister in an emergency session of Crimea's local assembly last month after armed men seized the building and Russian flags were run up its flagpoles.

While his allegiance to President Vladimir Putin's government in Moscow is clear, details of his past remain sketchy.

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