President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia replaced four provincial governors on Monday for their poor performance amid financial crisis.
Before announcing the move, Medvedev said in a televised interview over the weekend that some provincial leaders were not up to the task.
"We aren't going to close eyes on flaws in work and, simply speaking, ineptness, sloppiness and carelessness of some officials," Medvedev told Rossiya state television.
On Monday, he named new governors for the western Oryol, Pskov and Voronezh regions and the northern Nenets region. The changes are subject to approval by provincial legislatures, which are expected to do that soon.
Medvedev said in the weekend interview that plunging energy prices made it necessary to increase the efficiency of the government.
"It was easy to work at times when we had high revenues from oil and gas exports," Medvedev said. "In the current situation, it's necessary to learn how to spend public money in a rational way and show managerial skills."
Russian news agencies quoted Medvedev's deputy chief of staff Vladislav Surkov as saying the governors' dismissals were not a precursor of a wider purge of provincial leaders.
Medvedev, a protege and favored successor of Vladimir Putin, was inaugurated in May. Putin has continued to wield broad powers as Russia's prime minister and leader of the main pro-Kremlin United Russia party.
Three of the four new appointees are members of the United Russia.