Putin appoints 3 former KGB officers to top positions in regions
Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 28 has decided to appoint new officials to the positions of several envoys in the federal districts as well as regional leaders and government officials.
Besides, the expected resignations were announced: chief of the Federal Customs Service Andrei Belyaninov (who is now a witness in the case of alcohol smuggling) and Governor of the Kirov region Nikita Belykh (arrested on charges of bribe-taking) were dismissed, according to Meduza.
Shifts in the Russian Government
The Government sacked the head of the Federal Customs Service, Andrei Belyaninov. He has held the post for over 10 years, since May 2006. On July 26, his office and home were searched in the probe into alcohol smuggling. At the moment, he is a witness in the case.
Belianinov’s office is now taken by former presidential envoy to the Northwestern Federal District Vladimir Bulavin. The latter has roots in the Soviet KGB. He has also worked for the Russian FSB Federal Security Service and in 2006, he was appointed the FSB’s Deputy Director.
Deputy Director of the Russian national guard became a former presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District Sergei Melikov.
Envoys in the federal districts
Sergey Melikov’s office was taken by a former presidential envoy to the "Crimean Federal District" Oleg Belaventsev. The "Crimean Federal District" was abolished Thursday, July 28, becoming part of the Southern District.
Bulavin was replaced by a former Governor of Kaliningrad region Nikolai Tsukanov.
President's envoy in the Siberian Federal District Nikolai Rogozhkin was fired, to be replaced by a so-called "governor" of the annexed city of Sevastopol (Crimea) Sergey Menyailo.
Sergei Menyailo’s office in the annexed Sevastopol is now occupied by former Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Dmitry Ovsyannikov.
In place of Nikolay Tsukanov in Kaliningrad region comes head of the regional office of the FSBYevgeny Zinichev, who also comes from the Soviet security services.
Read alsoMan who helped Yanukovych flee appointed Tula region governor – mediaDismissed is also the Governor of the Yaroslavl region Sergey Yastrebov. He was replaced by Dmitry Mironov, who had been appointed Deputy Minister of the Interior in December 2015. Between 1990 and 2013, he served in the KGB and the State Protection Service.
In addition, the Governor of the Kirov region Nikita Belykh was fired Thursday, due to the "loss of confidence". He was replaced by the former head of the Russian Register Igor Vasiliev.
The Kremlin dismissed Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, who may be replaced by the current presidential envoy in the Volga Federal District, Mikhail Babich. The latter has experience in the security services, served in the Airborne Troops and the KGB.
Read alsoToropov appointed Russia's charge d'affaires in UkraineAs a result of the reshuffling, three officials with experience in the Russian security services - Bulavin, Mironov and Zinichev – have been appointed to top positions in the regions today.
Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin's spokesperson, has earlier told reporters that President Putin's massive reshuffle of top-level government officials is simply an “ordinary rotation” of state workers.