Kirill Yashenkov is seeking to become Rugby Europe President ©Russian Rugby Federation

The Russian Rugby Federation has supported the nomination of its deputy chairman Kirill Yashenkov as a candidate to be Rugby Europe President.

Yashenkov said his ambition was to show Russia as an emerging power in rugby and claimed a focus would be placed on improving the European Championship to ensure teams close the gap to those competing in the Six Nations.

"I intend to visit all 47 member countries of the European Association and meet with the heads of all rugby federations, including the countries of the Six Nations," Yashenkov said.

"Our main goal is to declare Russia as a rugby power, as well as to pay attention to the development and improvement of the level of the European Championship in order to get closer to the level of the Six Nations teams.

"For example, we definitely need to introduce TMOs [television match officials] in all games of the championship, as well as pay attention to the development of countries that are in lower leagues. 

"I know that most federations will support us."

The Russian Rugby Federation’s Supreme Council supported his nomination.

The organisation claimed there is currently stagnation within European rugby.

"Russia must be represented at the European level," said Igor Artemyev, Russian Rugby Federation chairman.

"We have something to offer other countries, on the other hand, there is something to learn.

"There is stagnation in European rugby, and we believe that with our help, rugby in Europe will receive a new impetus for development."

Rugby Europe is currently led by Romania’s Octavian Morariu.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) member has led the organisation since 2013 and is currently serving his second term.

Morariu could opt to seek a third and final term as President.

The election was scheduled to take place on December 4, but could reportedly be postponed until March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Bernard Laporte was re-elected as French Rugby Federation President last week ©Getty Images
Bernard Laporte was re-elected as French Rugby Federation President last week ©Getty Images

The election will be the latest held in rugby bodies, with the French Rugby Federation having recently concluded its Presidential election.

Bernard Laporte was re-elected for a four-year team after securing 51.47 per cent of the vote compared to his sole rival Florian Grill’s 48.53 per cent.

World Rugby vice-chairman Laporte will serve as French Rugby Federation President when the country hosts the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

"Thank you to all amateur clubs for confirming their confidence in me for the next four years," Laporte wrote on Twitter.

"I will be the president of all clubs.

"Together for a great World Cup."

Laporte had been questioned by French authorities last month as part of an investigation into claims he favoured Top 14 club Montpellier.

Laporte, Montpellier owner Mohed Altrad, France 2023 World Cup chief Claude Atcher and FFR officials Serge Simon and Nicolas Hourquet were questioned for two days.

The Prosecution Office is now set to decide whether to continue the preliminary investigation, to open a judicial inquiry, or to end the investigation.

Laporte has been accused of pressuring the French league's appeal committee into reducing a disciplinary sanction against Montpellier in 2017.

Montpellier are owned by billionaire Altrad, who heads the Altrad Group.

Laporte has denied intervening in favour of Montpellier, but has admitted he spoke to appeal committee head Jean-Daniel Simonet prior to the decision being changed.

Laporte had claimed he was the victim of a "coordinated campaign" to destabilise French rugby ahead of the election.