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    FORMER PM KNEW ABOUT DISMISSAL EARLY TODAY

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    MOSCOW, February 24th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Mikhail Kasyanov, who headed the cabinet until today, knew about the dismissal of the government this morning, a source in the power structures told RIA Novosti.

    "This is why Kasyanov cancelled a meeting with United Russia faction in the White House," said the source.

    According to the source, the situation with Kasyanov's visit to Kazakhstan scheduled for February 26-27 is now hanging in mid-air. However, Vice Premier is most likely to perform the premier's functions during the trip to Kazakhstan, where he is leaving on Wednesday morning.

    President Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday the dismissal of the government.

    The head of state signed a decree to the effect appointing Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko acting premier.

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