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Russia prosecutor-general resigns unexpectedly

[JURIST] Russian Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov [MosNews profile] unexpectedly quit Friday after Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website; BBC profile] recommended to the Russian upper house - the Federation Council [official website] - that Ustinov be asked to step down from office. The upper house approved Ustinov's removal by a vote of 140-0, with two abstentions. According to the speaker of the Federation Council, Sergei Mironov, Ustinov first approached Putin about resigning. There was no immediate explanation for the resignation, though it follows recent criticism from Putin that Ustinov was failing to fight corruption in Russia.

Ustinov became the acting Prosecutor-General under President Boris Yeltsin in 1999, and was confirmed to the position permanently in 2000. Last year, Ustinov won overwhelming approval from the upper house for a second five-year term [JURIST report]. Ustinov led the Russian government's prosecution against businessmen Vladimir Gusinsky [Wikipedia profile], Boris Berezovsky [Wikipedia profile] and former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Reuters has more. Radio Free Europe has local coverage.

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