Putin deepens Russian Defence Ministry reshuffle

MOSCOW Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:27am EST

MOSCOW Nov 15 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin fired two Defence Ministry deputies on Thursday, broadening a reshuffle at the scandal-stricken body after the minister's dismissal last week due a fraud investigation.

In an order on the Kremlin website, Putin fired deputies Dmitry Chushkin and Yelena Kozlova, who oversaw finances under former minister Anatoly Serdyukov and replaced them with two associates of the new minister Sergei Shoigu.

While a personnel shuffle was expected at the ministry after Serdyukov's dismissal, the order will deepen the authority of both Putin and Shoigu at the ministry, which channels billions of tax dollars every year through Russia's huge arms industry.

Putin fired the General Chief of Staff Nikolai Makarov last week.

The new appointees at the ministry are Ruslan Tsalikov, who worked directly under Shoigu when he led the Emergencies Ministry, and Yuri Borisov, who was the first deputy chairman of a defence industry board.

Serdyukov was dismissed last week after he was implicated in a $100-million corruption scandal in which a ministry firm was accused of selling properties to insider companies at suspiciously low prices.

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