President Vladimir Putin (file photo) (RFE/RL)
May 13, 2006 --President Vladimir Putin today said the ouster of top security and law-enforcement officials was part of the government's campaign against corruption in Russia.
"This is the result of well-directed and long-running work by law enforcement agencies, first and foremost the Federal Security Service," Putin said. "The work isn't over yet, and not only in the customs sphere."
The officials who were dismissed included senior figures in the Federal Customs Service, Federal Security Service, the Interior Ministry, and the Prosecutor-General's Office.
The firings were disclosed on May 12), two days after Putin called for a stronger effort to combat corruption in his state-of-the-nation speech.
Putin said in televised remarks today that the firings weren't timed to his speech. The Russian president said he was aware of investigations that led to the ousters.
Putin said the level of graft in Russia was "unacceptably" high, and promised to continue his campaign.