The Rule of Law: Putin dismisses senior officials over RAN controversy

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November 28, 2016 – Fort Russ News – 

RIA Novosti – translated by J. Arnoldski – 

Vladimir Putin has dismissed employees of the office for presidential affairs, the FSB, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Kremlin’s press service has reported.

Last week, Putin publicly recalled that at the end of 2015, he asked government representatives to refrain from participating in elections to the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAN). The president also promised that officials elected to the Russian Academy of Sciences would have the opportunity to deal only with scholarly activities.

As a result, the deputy manager of presidential affairs and head of the medical directorate, Konstantin Kotenko, the head of the FSB’s directorate for registrations and archive funds, Lieutenant General Vasily Khristoforov, the head of the main military medical directorate of the defense ministry, Alexander Fisun, and the deputy minister of internal affairs and head of the investigative department of the interior ministry, Alexander Savenkov have been relieved of their duties. 

Almost all of the officials agreed to be dismissed “at their own will”, while Khristoforov was released for “surpassing the age limit for military service.” President Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, confirmed that the officials’ dismissal is related to their election to the Russian Academy of Sciences. 

Commenting on the fate of deputy education minister Aleksey Lopatin, who also figures in the science academy’s membership, the Kremlin’s spokesperson explained that the dismissal of ministerial employees is the prerogative of the government. 

Later it became clear that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has dismissed Lopatin from his post, also agreeing “at his own will.”

Earlier, Peskov remarked that the president has clearly outlined his position of government officials being part of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and that all ministries must heed this and work with it. He also spoke of the need to consider all legal nuances.

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At the end of October, 25 civil servants ran in the elections to the Russian Academy of Sciences. The academy stated earlier that officials will not be able to abandon their academic titles since the organization’s charter provides for lifetime membership. 

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