Former Air Force Commander Col.-Gen. Alexander Zelin will take up the post of an adviser to the Russian defense minister on the development of the Air Force, the Defense Ministry reported on Friday.
“Colonel-General Alexander Zelin voluntarily resigned due to a transfer to civil service in the capacity of an aide (adviser) to the defense minister of the Russian Federation,” the ministry said.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday dismissed Zelin from the post of Air Force Commander and from military service.
Zelin, 59, occupied the top military post for five years, during which the Air Force began to receive new aircraft and equipment in significant numbers for the first time since the end of the Soviet Union.
“To the observer Zelin appeared to preside over a period where air force procurement and plans became more planted in reality than merely in aspirations,” said Douglas Barrie, an air warfare analyst at the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies.
Senior military commanders in Russia usually retire at age 60.
Igor Korotchenko, chairman of Defense Ministry’s Public Council said that the reshuffle was a normal practice for military officials.
“Medvedev’s move will give the road to new, younger military specialists,” Korotchenko said, adding experienced commander Zelin would likely move on to a top post in a defense industrial holding or corporation.