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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Federation Council Deputy Speaker Stripped of Post

The Federation Council stripped Kurgan Senator Andrei Vikhorev of his deputy speaker post Wednesday after Speaker Sergei Mironov said he could no longer work with him.

Mironov, who had called Vikhorev a close friend when he recommended him for the post 2 1/2 years ago, refused to spell out the reason for the sacking.

"The reason for my decision is very simple: I have found it impossible to work with him anymore," Mironov said after the 140-1 vote. There were two abstentions.

In the run-up to the vote, local media cited unnamed sources in the Federation Council as saying Vikhorev had been drinking heavily and had sexually assaulted a woman during a conference in Irkutsk last fall. Vikhorev denies the allegation.

The media also have speculated that the Kremlin wants to give one of the four deputy speaker posts to a woman.

Vikhorev, who previously told the media that he hoped to hold on to the post, avoided reporters Wednesday, Interfax said.

"This is the result of a deeply soured personal relationship between Mironov and Vikhorev over his behavior involving alcohol and women," said Sergei Markov, a Kremlin-connected political analyst. "Mironov appointed Vikhorev for personal reasons and fired him for the same reasons."

Mironov said a new deputy speaker will be nominated within two weeks.

Valentina Petrenko, head of the Federation Council's social policy committee, is being tipped as the leading candidate, Interfax reported.

Another possible candidate is Lyudmila Narusova, the widow of Putin's mentor and former St. Petersburg mayor, Anatoly Sobchak, according to media reports.