A file picture taken on November 28, 2013 shows president of state-run monopoly Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin addressing a Franco-Russian Economic Forum at the Medef headquarters in Paris. AFP PHOTO / ERIC PIERMONT
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The long-serving president of Russia's state-owned railway company, Vladimir Yakunin, confirmed late Monday that he would step down next month when he is expected to become a senator.Yakunin, 67, is close to President Vladimir Putin and is on the United States sanctions list over the Ukraine crisis. He has headed Russian Railways, or RZhD, since 2005 .Under Yakunin, Russian Railways has privatized some of its functions and introduced high-speed trains on flagship routes but has struggled to expand lucrative freight traffic.Under Putin, he served as deputy transport and railways minister. He became first deputy president of Russian Railways in 2003 .
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