The Federation Council on Wednesday cancelled, before the appointed time, the powers of ex-President of Ingushetia (a republic in the North Caucasus) Ruslan Aushev as a senator. 118 members of the House voted for this decision, five were against and eleven abstained. On April 23rd, Ruslan Aushev declared his ceding the powers as a senator and explained this step by "unsettled relations" between Ingushetia and North Ossetia (the two neighbour republics). Ruslan Aushev said that he had taken "the decision to leave the Upper House of the parliament because the Federation Council was unable to resolve these problems."
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign