Russian president Vladimir Putin accepted on Wednesday the resignation notice tabled by prime minister Mikhail Fradkov and his entire cabinet, in a surprise move just months before the general elections.

Boris Grizlov, head of the State Duma (the Russian Parliament) announced that a candidature for the vacant seat was submitted by Viktor Zubkov, manager of the Financial Espionage Service, a rather anonymous character in Russia's political life.

According to Grizlov, the candidature will be analyzed on Thursday by the Duma chambers and probably on Friday in a common session.

Immediately after Fradkov's resignation, The Times pointed at Sergey Ivanov as the most probable successor, given his common past in the KGB, along with Putin.

The presidential elections in Russia are expected in March, Putin being excluded from the race due to the fact that he already served two mandates.

Analysts compare the resignation with the 1999 events, when Boris Yeltsin named Putin as prime minister, thus indicating his favorite.