MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has dismissed an influential Kremlin media adviser for breaching government rules, the first such sacking of his presidency, local media reported today.
The Kremlin announced the departure of Mikhail Lesin, who founded Russia's main TV advertising company in 1990 and held senior posts in news, television, and the government, in a terse statement saying Lesin left "at his own request."
But Interfax news agency, citing an unidentified Kremlin official, reported that Lesin was sacked for using "his position to resolve questions not related to his official duties."
It quoted the Kremlin official as saying Lesin, 51, had breached discipline and rules on state service.
Other Russian newspapers also ran stories today saying Lesin, who looked after media, information technology, and intellectual property issues in the Kremlin administration, was sacked for conflicts of interest with his own businesses.
A Kremlin spokesman refused to comment on the reports, but the influential "Kommersant" newspaper said such harsh comments are rarely made by senior Kremlin officials without the president's permission.
The reports described Lesin's departure as a decision taken at Medvedev's initiative and said it was the first major Kremlin sacking of his presidency.
"Moskovsky Komsomolets" daily said Medvedev had taken the decision without consulting his predecessor and mentor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Medvedev has repeatedly promised to fight official corruption, but businesspeople and investors in Russia say the situation has not improved since he took office a year and a half ago.
The Kremlin administration is the most powerful body in Russia and its advisers wield enormous influence.
Medvedev inherited all the top Kremlin officials from Putin and has not made changes in the lineup until now.
Lesin was media minister from 1999 and took up his post in the Kremlin administration under Putin in April 2004, according to the official Kremlin website kremlin.ru.
Lesin was not immediately available for comment, but told "Kommersant" that he did not have "the moral right" to comment on the reports.