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Medvedev to Face Angry Duma Next Week

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will face withering criticism and calls to fire at least one minister when he delivers his first address on the work of his Cabinet to the State Duma next week.

Medvedev is scheduled to speak in the Duma on April 17, and he also will meet with the leaders of the four Duma factions, who have gathered more than two dozen questions to ask him.

The main thrust of the questions revolve around the tenure of Education and Science Minister Dmitry Livanov, national newspapers reported Wednesday.

Members of three parties represented in the Duma — the Communist, Just Russia and Liberal Democratic parties — have indicated that they will seek his ouster.

Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov signed an appeal, published in Moskovsky Komsomolets on Wednesday, calling for Medvedev to "immediately stop the assault against education and research."

Igor Lebedev, a deputy speaker and member of LDPR, confirmed to Kommersant that the question of Livanov's dismissal would be raised next week.

The deputy head of the Just Russia faction, Mikhail Yemelyanov, said deputies' complaints would not be limited to Livanov but the overall performance of the Cabinet. "This is not have anything to do with Medvedev personally but everything to do with the policy that he is carrying out," he said.

United Russia, however, appears to be noncommittal on Livanov. The head of the Duma's Education Committee, Vyacheslav Nikonov, said the situation was "fairly difficult" but the party had "no official position."

Livanov, who was appointed last May, is under fire over a series of missteps and ministry scandals that have prompted President Vladimir Putin to scold him publicly.

The deputy chairman of the Communist faction, Nikolai Kolomeitsev, told Kommersant: "He received an official reprimand from the Russian president after less than a year in office, has alienated himself to professors and teachers across the country and has become an object of ridicule among the youth."

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