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Duma Chair Naryshkin to Head Russia's Foreign Intelligence Agency as Kremlin Shake-Up Continues

Sergei Naryshkin Kremlin Press Service

Vladimir Putin has named Sergei Naryshkin, the chairman of the State Duma, as the new head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR).

Naryshkin's large mandate in the recent elections put him in good stead to carry out such important work, said the president's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov.

Naryshkin move to SVR falls in line with reports that the agency could be merging with Russia's Federal Security Service, a source close to the Kremlin told The Moscow Times.

The former head the SVR, Mikhail Fradkov, will be moving to work as the chairman of the board of directors for the state-owned company Russian Railways.

The move is part of a wider shake up following Russia's recent parliamentary elections, where the ruling United Russia party increased its presence the Duma, gaining a supermajority for the first time in years.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the first deputy chief of President Vladimir Putin’s staff, is reported to be moving to the parliament as Duma speaker, The Moscow Times reported Wednesday. He will be presented to other Duma members on Saturday, the Dozhd television channel reported on Thursday night. 

Volodin's replacement in the Kremlin is expected to play a role in the upcoming presidential elections in 2018. Russian President Vladimir Putin has not confirmed his candidacy, but he is largely expected to run for a fourth term. 

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