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Absolute Power

Guardian Unlimited, 24 Feb 2004, Associated Press

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, today dismissed the prime minister, Mikhail Kasyanov, and his cabinet, saying that he wanted to appoint a new government to steer the country after next month's presidential elections.

Announcing the move on national television, Mr Putin said: "This decision bears no relation to any assessment of the performance of the former composition of the government.

"It was dictated by my desire to once again delineate my position on the issue of what development course the country will take after March 14 2004."

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