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Russia: Putin Makes Changes In Government

Moscow, 28 March 2001 (RFE/RL) -- President Vladimir Putin today made sweeping changes in the Russian cabinet, with historic appointments to head the Defense and Interior ministries. "The time has come to make the subsequent personnel decisions. They have been made today. These decisions, I repeat, are the logical ending of one of the stages of the process of modernization of the military component in our country."

Security Council Secretary Sergei Ivanov was named defense minister.

Outgoing Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev becomes Putin's adviser on strategic stability.

Boris Gryzlov, a leader in the pro-Kremlin parliamentary faction Unity, was named interior minister.

Outgoing Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo was named security council secretary.

Putin said the changes were prompted by what he called a changing situation in Russia's North Caucasus region and a need to demilitarize Russian public life.

Deputy Finance Minister Lyubov Kudelina was named deputy defense minister -- the first woman to be named to such a senior defense post in recent times.

Yevgeny Adamov resigned as minister of atomic energy and was replaced by Aleksandr Rumyantsev.

Mikhail Fradkov was named new chief of the federal tax police.

Putin also named new commanders of ground and space forces. He said other personnel changes would be forthcoming.

(For more details on this story see: Russia: Putin Reshuffles Government)