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Duma To Vote On Putin's Nominee For Premier

Moscow, 5 March 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's State Duma votes today on whether to confirm the man Russian President Vladimir Putin has picked to serve as his new prime minister.

Mikhail Fradkov, Russia's envoy to the European Union, needs 226 of the Duma's 450 votes for approval.

Confirmation, however, should be little more than a formality since the pro-Kremlin Unified Russia party, which holds a majority of seats in the State Duma, has already given its backing to Fradkov, a former tax police chief.

Late last month, Putin sacked his entire cabinet in order to remove Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, seen as too close to Russia's oligarchs and the Boris Yeltsin era.