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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

State Taps New Head for Almaz

The government has tapped a little-known official from President Vladimir Putin's hometown of St. Petersburg to take over as the general director of missile defense systems maker, Almaz-Antei, after the concern's acting head, Igor Klimov, was gunned down in June.

Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov signed a government order Monday recommending that the official, Vladislav Menshchikov, be voted in as the company's new general director at the next meeting of the board of directors, the government's press service said, Interfax reported.

With such backing, Menshchikov is expected to be a shoo-in for the job because the state owns 100 percent of the holding, which was created last year by a Kremlin decree that ordered the merger of more than 46 missile defense technology companies.

A spokeswoman for Almaz, one of the main air defense systems producers in the holding, said the board would likely vote on his candidacy either Friday or Monday.

She would not comment further on the candidacy or the vote.

The Almaz-Antei holding, which produces long-range S-300 and the shorter range Tor-M1 air defense systems, has been wracked by infighting for control, which appeared to veer fatally out of hand with the June 6 killing of Klimov, a Putin appointee.

The murder has not been solved.

Since 2000, Menshchikov has worked as the deputy head of the State Reserves Agency, which controls various state assets such as emergency supplies.

A spokesman, who refused to give his name, would not comment on Menshchikov's work there or the agency's exact activities, saying they are classified a state secret.

Before joining the State Reserves Agency, Menshchikov was a manager at the St. Petersburg branch of the Central Bank from 1995 to 1997, then first deputy head of the St. Petersburg branch of the Federal Securities Commission.

His resume, however, features a conspicuous gap following his graduation from the Leningrad Mechanical Institute in 1982.

In an article last week, Nezavisimaya Gazeta suggested Menshchikov had spent those years working for the security services.

The State Reserves Agency refused to comment on whether Menshchikov had been an agent.