Russia's Vladimir Putin Fires Two Senior Kremlin Officials in Surprise Move

Image: Vladimir Putin Visits Hungary
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - FEBRUARY 17: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at Parliament on February 17, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Putin is in Budapest on a one-day visit, his first visit to an EU-member country since he attended ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasions in France in June, 2014. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)Sean Gallup / Getty Images

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MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin dismissed two senior officials on Monday in a surprise move that followed recent rumors of feuding at the heart of the Kremlin. The twin sackings come less than a month after the killing of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov, which had exposed rarely seen tensions between various factions within Putin's inner elite.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Oleg Morozov, 61, was leaving his post as head of the president's domestic policy department because of family reasons. Peskov also announced the departure of head of the international cooperation department, Sergei Bolkhovitin, but gave no reason for his removal. His department deals with technical aspects of foreign cooperation.

Morozov was replaced by Tatyana Voronova, who previously headed the youth section of Putin's ruling United Russia party, served as a lawmaker and sat on the country's central elections committee before moving to the Kremlin in early 2013. No successor was named for Bolkhovitin.

The sense of intrigue at the Kremlin this month was heightened when Putin vanished from public view for 10 days. The president laughed off his disappearance when he finally re-emerged at a public event on March 16.

IN-DEPTH

— Reuters

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