Putin shuffles regional officials after customs chief axed

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MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday carried out a major reshuffle of top regional officials after the government sacked the country’s scandal-tainted customs chief. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed off on the resignation of customs head Andrei Belyaninov—a former KGB agent who served in East Germany in the 1980s along with Putin—after security agents this week searched his offices and home over the alleged smuggling of high-end liquors. Belyaninov was replaced by Vladimir Bulavin—a former deputy chief in the FSB security agency—who headed the country’s northwestern district, with his appointment setting off a chain of further moves. Putin shifted another FSB boss to head the strategically sensitive Kaliningrad region and made a senior interior ministry official governor of another central region in changes that strengthened the power of security apparatchiks.

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