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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Acting Police Chief Targeted Students

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Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev has named a police veteran who two months ago tried to get six students expelled from school for participating in an anti-Kremlin rally as Moscow's interim police chief.

Alexander Ivanov, 59, a police major general who had worked as former police chief Vladimir Pronin's first deputy and head of the city's criminal police department since 2001, will fill the position until a new chief is appointed possibly in late May, police said Wednesday.

President Dmitry Medvedev fired Pronin on Tuesday after a shooting spree in which police Major Denis Yevsyukov, head of a police precinct in southern Moscow, killed three people and wounded six. He was captured after a police shootout early Monday.

Ivanov is a "highly professional" and "experienced" police veteran who "is very familiar with the security situation in the city," police spokeswoman Zhanna Ozhimina said by telephone.

In February, Ivanov took center stage in a much-publicized scandal after he sent a letter to the rector of the Higher School of Economics recommending that six students be dismissed for taking part in an unauthorized Dissenters' March in Moscow late last year.

City police later issued an official apology for Ivanov's letter.

Ivanov and another deputy police chief, Alexander Melnikov, are among the possible candidates to replace Pronin, an Interior Ministry source told Interfax.

But the post might go to "a person who hasn't worked in the city police," the source said.

Ozhimina and Interior Ministry spokesman Oleg Yelnikov both declined to comment on the Interfax report.

By law, Moscow's police chief is appointed by the president on the recommendation of the interior minister, Yelnikov said. An interim city police chief is first appointed for up to six months, but if necessary, his term can be extended by a presidential decree.

A Kremlin source told Interfax on Wednesday that "the main reason" for Pronin's dismissal was Monday's attack. No one was available for comment at the Kremlin's press service on Wednesday.

Three policemen will be awarded medals for managing to apprehend Yevsyukov without opening fire, senior police official Vladimir Petrusenko said in remarks published Wednesday in Izvestia.

Ivanov, a 1976 graduate of the Kiev Higher School of the Soviet Interior Ministry and a 1989 graduate of the Soviet Interior Ministry's Academy, has served on the Moscow police force since 1976, according to the Moscow police's web site, Petrovka38.ru.

Ivanov headed the criminal investigation department in Moscow's Babushkinsky district in the 1980s and was later promoted to first deputy head of the police department in the city's northeastern administrative district. Ivanov has received many medals for his service.