By Eugene Ravdin
Russia may be deep into its off-season but several clubs have been keeping busy in recent weeks.
FC Alania Vladikavkaz appointed the 35-year-old Bakhva Tedeev as their new coach after narrowly escaping relegation in the 2004 season. Tedeev won the title with Alania in 1995 during his playing days. Another club with a new coach are FC Rostov who have replaced Sergei Balakhnin with the 40-year-old Gennadi Stiopushin.
One man who is not going anywhere though is FC Shinnik Yaroslavl coach Oleg Dolmatov, who guided the club to sixth place last season. The 56-year-old was rewarded with a new one-year contract. There was a change at the Russian Football Premier League when the board met to elect its new president for the 2005 season. FC Dinamo Moskva's Yuri Zavarzin was the only candidate and was subsequently appointed.
On the playing front, the 26-year-old FC Rubin Kazan and Russia midfielder Denis Boyarintsev completed his move to FC Spartak Moskva, signing a two-year contract with an option for an additional year. Despite losing Igor Lebedenko and Aleksei Bugayev to FC Lokomotiv Moskva, FC Torpedo Moskva managed to secure key midfielder Serguei Ossipov on a new three-year deal.
Elsewhere, FC Zenit St. Peterburg made three high-profile acquisitions with the signing of Norway defender Erik Hagen, Croatian defender Ivica Krizanac and F.Y.R. Macedonia striker Dragan Cadikovski. Hagen, 29, has left Vålerenga IF, Krizanac, 25, has departed Polish side Groclin Grodzisk Wielkopolski while the 22-year-old Cadikovski moves from NK Publikum.
Other notable deals saw the 35-year-old midfielder Martin Hasek heading home to Czech side FC Slovan Liberec from FC Dinamo Moskva while the 29-year-old Latvian international goalkeeper Aleksandrs Kolinko joined FC Rubin Kazan from Rostov. The 25-year-old Poland midfielder Damian Gorawski arrived at FC Moskva from Wisla Kraków and the former FC Spartak Moskva midfield Andrei Tikhonov left FC Krylya Sovetov Samara to join FC Khimki.
Finally, FC Lokomotiv Moskva striker Dmitri Sychev was named 2004 Russian Player of the Year in the 41st annual poll by weekly newspaper Football. The Russian international won the vote among 240 football writers in a year when he scored 15 Premier League goals as Lokomotiv regained the championship from PFC CSKA Moskva.
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