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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Shakhrai Ousted From Council

President Boris Yeltsin dismissed Sergei Shakhrai from the Security Council on Thursday, the president's press service reported.

Shakhrai, 39, resigned as deputy prime minister in December following his election to the State Duma, the lower house of parliament. According to the Russian Constitution, a Duma deputy cannot hold another government post.

A former nationalities minister, Shakhrai was adviser to the president on ethnic policy. He has been a member of the Security Council since November 1992, shortly after the secretive body was created by presidential decree.

Formally the Security Council advises the president on all aspects of foreign and domestic policy. But critics say that it has usurped power, and, in effect, become a second Politburo, the group of senior Communist Party officials that wielded power in the Soviet era.

It has 14 members including the president, the prime minister, and both parliament house speakers. No replacement for Shakhrai has yet been announced.

, of whom five are "permanent" members. These

Oleg Lobov is the current chairman of the council.