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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Announces Major Government Changes

President Vladimir Putin announced sweeping changes to his government on Wednesday and said they were aimed at "demilitarizing Russia's public life," the Kremlin said.

Security Council Secretary Sergei Ivanov, Putin's close ally and a former spy, was named new defense minister. The veteran outgoing minister, career officer Igor Sergeyev, became Putin's adviser on strategic stability.

Breaking precedent, Putin appointed former Deputy Finance Minister Lyubov Kudelina as deputy defense minister, the first woman to get a job of that level in the ministry — traditionally the preserve of uniformed officers.

Putin appointed Mikhail Fradkov as the new head of the increasingly important tax police, replacing Vyacheslav Soltaganov, who moves to the Security Council to focus on fighting corruption.

Boris Gryzlov, the head of the key pro-Kremlin Unity Party in parliament, replaced career policeman Vladimir Rushailo as interior minister. Rushailo became the secretary of the Security Council, replacing Ivanov.

Putin also appointed a new atomic energy minister, scientist Alexander Rumyantsev. He replaced the veteran Yevgeny Adamov.

"The president described [the government changes] as a 'step toward demilitarizing Russia's public life,'" RIA news agency said.

Putin said he planned more government changes that would "attract attention" but gave no details. Wednesday's reshuffle was the first major personnel change since Putin was elected president a year ago.