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Russian Speaker Gryzlov Quits

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (left) with Boris Gryzlov at a United Russia meeting (file photo)
Russian parliament speaker Boris Gryzlov, chairman of Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party, says he will not take his seat in the State Duma elected in the December 4 vote.

As Duma speaker since 2003 and chairman of United Russia's Supreme Council, Gryzlov is a powerful symbol of a political system dominated by Putin and the party for more than a decade.

His decision appeared aimed at cooling public anger over an election opponents say was rigged in the ruling party's favor.

The Duma convenes on December 21.

Putin, president from 2000-08, will seek a new six-year term in the Kremlin in a March 4 election.

Putin is chairman of United Russia but not a member.

compiled from agency reports