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Though it probably won't appease the tens of thousands of protesters who took to Moscow's streets to chant "Russia Without Putin,' Russia today is without one of the prime minister's long-time allies, Boris Gryzlov, who announced his resignation today. Putin's ruling United Russia party seems to be trying to throw protesters a bone, as his resignation is "an apparent effort to quell some of the uproar over perceived fraud," as The New York Times describes. As "the day-to-day head of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party" who's served as speaker of the Russian parliament lower house since 2003, according to Reuters, Gryzlov is a pretty big party figure to quit, especially considering that he's defended his party against allegations of rigging elections in 2007 and 2009. Gryzlov himself explains on the party's website, saying that it is "inappropriate to remain the speaker of the chamber for more than two terms in a row." Protesters will likely be quick to note that Vladimir Putin, the guy they really want to step down, has himself served two (nonconsecutive) terms as prime minister.

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