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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Zurabov to Be Fired, Gryzlov Says

MTMikhail Zurabov
Health and Social Development Minister Mikhail Zurabov will be dismissed, State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said Thursday, adding to speculation that the embattled minister might be on his way out.

"I promise that Zurabov will not occupy the ministerial post," Gryzlov told regional officials during a visit to Krasnoyarsk.

"If I am saying this, then I know what I am talking about," he said, Interfax reported.

Gryzlov did not say when the dismissal might take place.

Zurabov will lose his post if the government heeds a nonbinding resolution approved by the Duma earlier this week, said a staff member in Gryzlov's office who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

On Wednesday, United Russia deputies pushed through a nonbinding resolution that called on Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov to split Zurabov's ministry into separate health and a social development ministries.

The resolution came after United Russia deputies blocked an attempt by the opposition to pass a resolution demanding Zurabov's resignation.

Zurabov has drawn fire from all Duma factions over his ministry's poor handling of a government-sponsored prescription drug program and other benefits. Poor management of the drug subsidization program has already cost one senior official his job. Last month, Fradkov dismissed the head of the country's health inspectorate, Ramil Khabriyev.

A spokesman for the Health and Social Development Ministry said Zurabov was "working in his usual mode" on Thursday afternoon. He declined to elaborate.

United Russia spokesman Konstantin Tarasov declined to comment on Gryzlov's remarks. Spokespeople for the federal government and the Kremlin also declined to comment.