Putin Nominates Financial Monitor Zubkov for PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin nominated Wednesday the head of the country's financial regulator, Viktor Zubkov, for the post of prime minister, RIA-Novosti reported.

Nominee for new PM Viktor Zubkov

The lower house of parliament could vote in the new premier on Friday, State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said, adding that on Thursday, all Duma factions will have the opportunity to meet Zubkov. Later First Deputy Speaker Lyubov Sliska confirmed the Duma will consider the candidacy Friday.

Zubkov heads the Federal Financial Monitoring Service, and comes as an unexpected candidate following widely-circulated rumors that First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov would take the post.

The president dismissed Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov earlier Wednesday, following a request from the premier, and asked him to stay on as acting head of government until the State Duma votes in a new candidate.

First Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Oleg Morozov said the new premier could later run for president. "It would be logical if the prime minister became a presidential candidate," he said, adding that other scenarios should not be ruled out.

Acting Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov said Wednesday he has no doubts parliament will approve the head of the country's financial regulator as the new premier. He also said he was sure the new government will continue the course led by the dismissed government.

Zubkov was born September 15, 1941 in the village of Arbat in the Sverdlovsk Region in the Urals. After graduating as an agricultural economist, he was in charge of state-run farms in the St. Petersburg area. In 1985-1991 he was a member of the city administration in Priozyorsk, in the Leningrad Region.

In 1992-1993, Zubkov was deputy chairman of the St. Petersburg City Hall's external relations committee. In 1993-1999 he was a senior official in the tax service, holding a number of different posts. In 1999-2001 was deputy tax minister, then first deputy finance minister, and then finally appointed head of the Federal Financial Monitoring Service.

The respected business daily Vedomosti had cited a source close to the Kremlin as saying First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov would be appointed as the new premier. The paper commented Wednesday that Ivanov, like Putin a former KGB officer from St. Petersburg, had been seen with the president far more often than another potential candidate, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

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