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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 February, 2004, 10:30 GMT
Siberian surprise at Putin move
By Steve Rosenberg
BBC correspondent in Krasnoyarsk

Moscow may be buzzing with political change, but in deepest Siberia life this morning doesn't feel any different.

In the centre of Krasnoyarsk, trolley bus Number 8 appeared as usual on Karl Marx Street to pick up a sea of Siberians.

Standpipe for water in a Siberian village
Life in Siberia is hard, whoever's in charge
There they stood, all wrapped in furs to keep out the cold and the driving snow - everyone hurrying off to work or to the shops or to school.

To most of these passengers, the dismissal of a government far away in the Russian capital raised little concern.

"I don't think it matters what government we have," pensioner Valentina told me. "Nothing will change, our lives will remain tough".

In the corner, the conductor Natasha was busy selling tickets at two roubles a piece. She got her job on trolley bus Number 8 around the same time that Mikhail Kasyanov got his as prime minister.

She's not sad to see him go.

I'm shocked. Under Putin, Russia seemed to be getting more predicable. Now I'm worried what's going to happen next
"What did that government achieve? Nothing - in the last four years my life has got worse. I say good riddance," she said

As the trolley bus rocked its way out of the city centre and into a grey industrial district of Krasnoyarsk, one man called Uri, sounded a note of caution.

"I'm shocked. Under Putin, Russia seemed to be getting more predicable, now suddenly the government's been sacked.

"I'm worried what's going to happen next," he said.

Making life more predictable, more stable, that's something that many Russians view as one of Vladimir Putin's greatest achievements; something that was so absent from their lives when Boris Yeltsin was in power.

Today they're hoping that stability won't be sacrificed for political ends.

The BBC's Damian Grammaticas
"This may have been an attempt to impress the electorate"

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