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And So It Ends

Vladimir Putin's personal autocracy is now complete:

In a bold step that removed a last major holdover from the days of Boris Yeltsin, President Vladimir Putin dismissed his prime minister and all other Cabinet ministers Tuesday, saying he reshuffled the government in preparation for next month's presidential vote.

Putin said the ouster of Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov was designed to put his next government in place in advance of the March 14 balloting.

With virtually no political opposition, Putin was widely expected win a second term, and his comments Tuesday showed his confidence.

Next month's balloting will be less of an election than a coronation.