Putin sacks chief of Russia’s general staff

New chief of the General Staff, Colonel General Valery Gerasimov

From RFE/RL:  President Vladimir Putin has reshuffled several top generals amid an investigation into alleged fraud at Russia’s Defense Ministry.

The changes announced on November 9 come just days after the president fired the defense minister, Anatoly Serdyukov, replacing him with Sergei Shoigu, a longtime Putin ally.

Putin dismissed the chief of the armed forces’ General Staff, Nikolai Makarov, replacing him with Valery Gerasimov. Makarov had served as chief of the General Staff since 2008.

Gerasimov, the former commander of the Central Military District, will also serve as first deputy defense minister. . . .

Putin praised Gerasimov during the announcement of his appointment.

"You are an experienced officer and we will have more than one discussion about the problems facing the armed forces: the army, the navy, and the air force," Putin said.

"One of our most important tasks now is, of course, the rearmament of the army and the navy."

From Ellen Barry, New York Times:  During a meeting Friday morning, Mr. Putin alluded to another set of tensions building within military circles, this time over relations with defense manufacturers. He told Colonel General Gerasimov that the Defense Department has been frequently changing its orders for weapons and other military hardware.

“The situation in the scientific-technical sphere is changing quickly, and new means of armed warfare are appearing,” Mr. Putin said, according to the Interfax news service. “We should orient ourselves toward optimal means, but still need to maintain a certain stability. I am counting on you and the ministry to establish stable, good collegial work with our leading manufacturers in the defense sector.”  (photo: Sergey Ponomarev/AP)

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