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Putin Loyalist Resigns As Russia's Speaker Of Parliament

Tens of thousands of protesters turned out  in Moscow and other major cities across Russia in open defiance to strongman Vladimir Putin's 12-year rule. i i

Tens of thousands of protesters turned out in Moscow and other major cities across Russia in open defiance to strongman Vladimir Putin's 12-year rule. Dmitry Chistoprudov/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Dmitry Chistoprudov/AFP/Getty Images
Tens of thousands of protesters turned out  in Moscow and other major cities across Russia in open defiance to strongman Vladimir Putin's 12-year rule.

Tens of thousands of protesters turned out in Moscow and other major cities across Russia in open defiance to strongman Vladimir Putin's 12-year rule.

Dmitry Chistoprudov/AFP/Getty Images

The protests that have spread across Russia took a big political toll today, when the speaker of parliament announced his resignation. As the AP reports, the move appears to be tailored by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as an attempt to "stem public anger."

The AP reports that Boris Gryzlov was a Putin loyalist, who had served in Parliament "for eight years and helped make it a reliable rubber stamper of Putin's decisions."

As we've reported, Putin is facing the most serious challenge to his 12-years in power with thousands of people taking to the streets this month to protest what they say were rigged parliamentary elections. As The Telegraph reports, in an unusual move the government OKd a mass rally this past Saturday and has sanctioned another opposition rally for Christmas Eve.

One more thing to watch is a call-in show that will be hosted by Putin tomorrow. While Putin has remained silent about the protests, he is expected to address them during the show.

Reuters reports:

Putin will portray himself in a marathon television phone-in as a man in touch with his country despite nationwide weekend protests and, according to a close aide, he will not skirt difficult questions.

"Taking into account the busy agenda, the past election and future election, this phone-in will be special," Putin spokesman and deputy chief of staff Dmitry Peskov told reporters.