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Lame Duck Russian Cabinet to Meet Following Putin Dismissal of Government - 2004-02-25


Russia says government ministers are continuing their work on a temporary basis, one day after President Vladimir Putin fired his entire cabinet.

A Russian government spokesman says Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko, who was appointed acting head of government Tuesday, will chair a cabinet meeting Thursday.

Mr. Putin said he made his surprise move Tuesday to make it clear to voters what Russian policy will be after the March 14 election. He said the dismissal does not reflect the government's performance, which he says was "satisfactory."

Among those dismissed was Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, the last major holdover from former President Boris Yeltsin's government.

Many Russian observers believed Mr. Kasyanov's dismissal was imminent. He was known to back Russian business tycoons and questioned the Kremlin's investigation into alleged fraud in the giant Yukos oil company.

President Putin is expected to win re-election by a landslide against six challengers. He enjoys a more than 70 percent job approval rating.

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