Vladimir Putin conducted large-scale reshuffles in the country's military and law enforcement structures yesterday. He dismissed Anatoly Kvashnin, chief of the General Staff, Vyacheslav Tikhomirov, chief commander of the interior troops, Mikhail Labunets, commander of the North Caucasus district of the interior troops, and Anatoly Yezhkov, deputy director of the FSB. Yuri Baluyevsky, former first deputy of Gen. Kvashnin, has been appointed in place of his ex-boss, and Alexander Baranov has been transferred to the post of commander of the North-Caucasus military district from the Volga-Urals district.
According to the newspaper, the majority of reshuffles are linked, in one way or another, to the failed federal policy in the North Caucasus, i.e., the assassination of Akhmad Kadyrov and the militants' attack on Ingushetia on June 22. According to the newspaper, "the FSB, Interior Ministry troops and Defence Ministry units had obviously lost their grip on the situation in the North Caucasus." The president's decision raised the level of responsibility of the new people appointed to important posts in the military and law enforcement structures. According to many experts, Kvashnin was "a political heavyweight" from the Yeltsin era, and therefore his dismissal was not surprising.