* Deputy PM says replacement being discussed
* Follows criticism from government, searches of CEO home
* Previous attempt to replace CEO failed
* CEO Provotorov had admitted pressure to go
MOSCOW, Feb 27 The Russian government still
wants a management shakeup at state-controlled telecoms group
Rostelecom, after it failed to agree on a new CEO with
the Kremlin last year, Russian news agencies reported.
"This question has not been closed, it is actually open,"
Arkady Dvorkovich, the first deputy prime minister who oversees
the telecoms sector in the government, was quoted by RIA and
Interfax as saying on Wednesday.
"We are not talking about returning to this question - it is
open and being discussed."
Speculation that CEO Alexander Provotorov may be replaced
emerged after a cabinet reshuffle last May and has been fuelled
by government criticism of the firm's investment strategy and
weak share price.
Rumours flared anew in November when investigators searched
the homes of Provotorov and Konstantin Malofeyev, a 10.5 percent
shareholder and Provotorov's former business partner, in a probe
unrelated to Rostelecom.
In an interview with Reuters this month, Provotorov admitted
pressure, while defending Rostelecom's ambitions in the mobile
sector that were also subject to criticism.
Newspapers earlier reported that the communications ministry
under newly appointed Nikolai Nikiforov had suggested replacing
Provotorov with Vadim Semyonov, the head of state holding
company Svyazinvest who studied law with Prime Minister Dmitry
Medvedev, but his candidacy was rejected by the Kremlin.
Provotorov took the helm at Rostelecom in July 2010 when the
communications ministry was headed by Igor Shchyogolev - now in
the Kremlin as an aide to President Vladimir Putin. Last April
Provotorov's contract was extended until mid-July 2015.
Rostelecom's stock was trading 1.24 percent lower at 116
roubles by 0946 GMT, slightly underperforming broader market
index and taking the shares around 20 percent below a
(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Douglas Busvine and