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Kremlin Replaces Far East Governor Ahead Of Polls

Former Primorye Governor Sergei Darkin
Former Primorye Governor Sergei Darkin
The governor of Russia's Far East Primorye region has resigned -- just days before Russia's March 4 presidential election.

A Kremlin spokeswoman said on February 28 that Governor Sergei Darkin submitted his resignation "for a variety of reasons, including health reasons."

Darkin had governed Primorye since 2001.

He will be replaced by the rector of the Far East Federal University, Vladimir Miklushevsky.

About 33 percent of the Primorye region's votes were given to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party in December's parliamentary elections -- one of the party's weakest performances nationwide in that vote.

Kremlin spokeswoman Natalia Timakova has denied suggestions that governors whose regions did not register high support for Putin's party in the December election could be replaced.

Putin is widely expected to win the March 4 election to secure his third term as president.

With reporting by AFP and Interfax