Putin sacks powerful chief of staff
Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday unexpectedly dismissed his close ally and powerful chief of staff Sergei Ivanov, in the highest-level change inside the Kremlin in several years.
Ivanov -- who served with Putin in the Soviet-era KGB spy agency -- was replaced by his deputy Anton Vaino.
The Kremlin said in a statement that Putin had "decreed to relieve Ivanov of his duties" and handed him a job as a special representative for conservation, environmental and transportation issues. Ivanov will remain a member of Russia's powerful security council.
Analysts said that the decision to replace Ivanov appeared to be part of a plan by Putin to bring in new blood and that more departures within the president's inner circle could be expected.