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Putin Nominates Russia's EU Envoy as Prime Minister - 2004-03-01

Russian President Vladimir Putin has named the country's European Union representative, Mikhail Fradkov, as his choice for prime minister. The nomination comes less than a week after President Putin's surprise dismissal of Mikhail Kasyanov and his government.

President Putin revealed his surprise nominee for prime minister during a meeting with leaders of the State Duma on Monday.

The president said it was a hard decision, but that Mr. Fradkov has good experience in many spheres.

The parliament, controlled by parties loyal to Mr. Putin, is widely expected to approve the president's nominee, whose name did not make any of the analysts' lists of potential picks.

Before taking up the EU envoy job, Mr. Fradkov served as the chief of Russia's now disbanded tax police. Prior to that, he was a member of the Russian Security Council and earlier served as a trade minister.

Members of Russia's lower house, the State Duma, now have one week to vote on the president's nomination. The change of prime ministers comes less than two weeks before presidential elections, which President Putin is expected to win.