UPDATE 2-Russian lawmakers approve Kudrin exit, paving way for Yandex move

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MOSCOW, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The upper chamber of Russia's parliament approved the resignation of Alexei Kudrin as head of the Audit Chamber on Wednesday, paving the way for him to take up a potential role at Russian technology giant Yandex.

Kudrin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin throughout his career, becomes the highest profile government official to leave a post since Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February.

Sources expect Kudrin to take up a role with Yandex, which last week announced a review of a possible

sweeping governance overhaul

that would leave its major business units in Russia under new ownership.

Kudrin has said he wants to focus on "big projects", but was tight-lipped on what he may do next.

"I have not chosen the post yet," he told reporters on Wednesday.

Asked about Yandex, Kudrin declined to comment, saying he needed to take a break before announcing his next plan.

A veteran of around 25 years in public service, Kudrin was finance minister for more than a decade between 2000 and 2011, and while maintaining close ties with Putin, Kudrin kept a relatively low profile in his current role as head of the Audit Chamber, Russia's public spending watchdog.

He stressed that leaving had been his decision.

"Yes, this was my initiative, since I am looking for new interesting projects in my life," Kudrin said. (Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya and Alexander Marrow; additional reporting by Caleb Davis; Editing by Andrew Heavens/Guy Faulconbridge)