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Medvedev Fires Arkhangelsk Governor

Arkhangelsk Governor Ilya Mikhalchuk was dismissed on Friday by President Dmitry Medvedev, becoming the second governor to lose his job after United Russia posted poor results in the regions in last month's State Duma elections.

In a statement, the Kremlin said Mikhalchuk resigned on "his own free will." It did not elaborate on the reasons for his departure.

Mikhalchuk follows Vologda Governor Vyacheslav Pozgalyov in leaving office following a poor showing in those regions for United Russia in the State Duma elections. In the Arkhangelsk region, United Russia won just 31.86 percent of the vote, below most other regions.

But senior United Russia official Sergei Neverov said Mikhalchuk's resignation was linked to high tariffs for housing and utilities services in the region, not the elections.

Last fall, "we drew the head of state's attention to that problem," Neverov said in a statement on United Russia's web site.

Medvedev appointed Mikhalchuk governor in 2008. In his place, Medvedev appointed Igor Orlov, the ex-head of the Yantar shipbuilding plant, to serve as acting governor.

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