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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

More Heads Are Expected To Roll at Defense Ministry

Having engineered the departure of three senior commanders, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov is planning to remove at least three more senior officials from their posts.

The officials to be "relieved of their posts soon" are Deputy Defense Ministers Nikolai Pankov and Vladimir Isakov, finance and budget chief Lyubov Kudelina, and Nikolai Reznik, head of the ministry's department responsible for maintaining troop morale, Gazeta reported Monday, citing a Defense Ministry official.

Kommersant and Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported over the weekend that Kudelina, Isakov and Pankov would soon be asked to leave.

National media have been awash in speculation that Serdyukov, a former furniture store manager who worked his way up to become head of the Federal Tax Service before being named to replace Sergei Ivanov in February, would seek to streamline the agency's finances and replace the old guard.

Since Serdyukov's appointment, the ministry has seen the resignations of the head of its armament service and international relations department as well as the Air Force chief.

President Vladimir Putin has also heeded Serdyukov's request to allow him to increase the number of deputy defense ministers from five to six, in line with his vision of the top brass hierarchy, Kommersant reported Saturday.

One of the six deputy defense ministers would oversee finances in place of Kudelina, a ministry official told Interfax on Monday. The official confirmed that Reznik would also step down.

Calls for comment to the Defense Ministry's press service went unanswered Monday.