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Duma Vice Speaker Lyudmila Shvetsova Dead at 65

Lyudmila Shvetsova, vice speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament, died on Wednesday after a long battle with an undisclosed illness, Interfax reported.

Shvetsova, 65, was elected to the State Duma in 2011 as a representative of the ruling United Russia party and worked on the Committee for Labor, Social Policy and Veterans' Affairs.

Prior to working for the state legislature, Shvetsova served for more than a decade as Moscow's vice mayor responsible for social affairs. During the Soviet era, Shvetsova worked for the secretariat of the Soviet Union's highest legislative body, the Supreme Soviet, rising to the position of chief of staff in 1990.

Shvetsova's fellow deputies and other Russian officials mourned her death Wednesday. President Vladimir Putin sent a telegram expressing sympathy to her family and friends, according to the Kremlin's official website.

Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin also expressed his condolences in a statement published on the legislative body's website, saying that Shvetsova had been a "true parliamentarian" and that she had "greatly contributed to strengthening the State Duma's credibility and effectiveness."

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