In an unexpected move, Russian President Vladimir Putin has sacked his chief of staff Sergei Ivanov. The former deputy prime minister has been part of Putin’s trusted inner circle for many years.
In a statement released on Friday, the Kremlin said Vladimir Putin had “decreed to relieve [Sergei] Ivanov of his duties as head of the Russian presidential administration.”
Ivanov was also removed from the Security Council – Russia’s top security body which includes Putin, chairs of the parliament and chiefs of Russia’s security services.
No further explanation was given for his unexpected dismissal. Ivanov became chief of staff in 2011 and had previously served as defense minister for six years, and later as deputy prime minister.
He will now take up the post as a special representative for environmental and transport issues.
A reputed friend and former colleague of Putin from their days in the Soviet KGB, Ivanov had long been regarded as one of the Russian president’s closest allies.
He was even considered a likely successor to Putin before Putin chose Dmitry Medvedev to run for president in 2008 when he was unable to stand himself due to term limitations.
Footage broadcast on Russian state television on Friday showed Putin meeting with the new chief of staff, Anton Vaino.
ksb/kl (AP, AFP, Reuters)