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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Navy Chief Relieved of Command

mil.ruVladimir Vysotsky
President Vladimir Putin has fired the chief of the Navy, just three weeks after he reached the maximum age for regular military service and at the same time received a decoration from the United States, national news agencies reported Thursday.

Admiral Vladimir Masorin turned 60, the maximum age for senior commanders, on Aug. 24. As required by law, he submitted his resignation to the president, who is allowed to extend commanders' service on an annual basis until they reach the age of 65. Putin chose not to extend Masorin's service and appointed in his place the commander of the Northern Fleet, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky, 52, a source in the Defense Ministry told Interfax on Thursday.

On the same day Masorin turned 60, he accepted the Legion of Merit from U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Mullen, who is set to become chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in October, at a public ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard.

Masorin accepted the honor without first clearing it with Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, in violation of Defense Ministry procedures for accepting foreign decorations. Masorin asked Serdyukov for permission only after he returned to Russia, national media reported.

Masorin was named to the top spot in the Navy in September 2005. There was much speculation in the media at the time that he had been appointed as a caretaker for the post until a younger admiral, such as Vysotsky, could be groomed for the position.