President Vladimir Putin today dismissed Russia's government ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections and appointed a little-known ally Viktor Zubkov as the country's prime minister.Associated Press:
After months of speculation about a possible reshuffle, Mr Putin said he had accepted the resignation of the prime minister, Mikhail Fradkov, and his government during a meeting in the Kremlin.
The Kremlin later announced that Mr Zubkov had been nominated as the new head of Russia's government - ahead of parliamentary elections on December 2 and a presidential poll in March 2008.
The chairman of Russia's upper house of parliament said Saturday that Vladimir Putin, barred from seeking a third consecutive term in elections next year, should run again for the presidency in 2012, Russian news agencies reported.
The comments by Sergei Mironov are likely add to furious speculation about Putin's intentions.