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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Seleznyov 'Promoted'

The Communist speaker of parliament has been dismissed as a party secretary and placed in another top-level position in what Communist officials Monday described as a promotion.

The Communist Party's weekend plenum dismissed Gennady Seleznyov as a secretary because of his "big workload" as chairman of the State Duma.

But it also elected him to the party's Presidium, a position higher than that of a Central Committee secretary, Communist spokesman Andrei Andreyev said.

"This is a promotion. All rumors about a split in the party leadership are nonsense," Andreyev said, commenting on reports that a change in Seleznyov's position signaled a growing rift between him and Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, who is running for president in June 16 elections.

Seleznyov told Itar-Tass on Monday that he asked to be relieved of his Central Committee post because of lack of time and to "avert irrelevant criticism" concerning his party position. He did not explain. He also did not mention being named to the Presidium.

Seleznyov was elected Duma speaker in January, after the Communists finished first in parliamentary elections. He reportedly has argued with Zyuganov about party policy.