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    Lawmakers cast critical eye over Putin ahead of parliament address

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    Opposition parties criticized Russia's powerful Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in comments to the press ahead of his annual address to parliament on Wednesday.

    Opposition parties criticized Russia's powerful Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in comments to the press ahead of his annual address to parliament on Wednesday.

    "The country continues to be in pain," Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov told reporters. "It has not got out of the crisis."

    Zyuganov claimed Putin's cabinet has done next to nothing to diversify Russia's economy away from oil and gas.

    Just Russia head Nikolai Levichev complained of increasing "social discomfort" in the country.

    "The government is responsible for how society feels," he said, and claimed Putin would try to gloss over it in his speech.

    "There will be a lot of figures, well-matching, they will show that everything's alright," Levichev said.

    Vladimir Zhirinovsky, head of the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, was unusually bland in his comments, merely saying that the party will raise a few issues during Putin's address.

    MOSCOW, April 20 (RIA Novosti)

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