Prosecutor's sacking part of Putin's personnel plans - source

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The dismissal of Vladimir Ustinov as Prosecutor General is part of President Vladimir Putin's plan to make sweeping personnel changes, a source in the Kremlin said Friday.

MOSCOW, June 2 (RIA Novosti) - The dismissal of Vladimir Ustinov as Prosecutor General is part of President Vladimir Putin's plan to make sweeping personnel changes, a source in the Kremlin said Friday.

"Law-enforcement bodies will continue the fight against crime and corruption, maintaining law and order in the country," the source said.

Ustinov, 53, met Friday with President Vladimir Putin, who thanked him for his work, the Kremlin press service said.

Experts say presidential envoy to the Southern Federal District Dmitry Kozak is the most likely candidate to succeed Ustinov. Sergei Mironov, speaker of the upper chamber of parliament, the Federation Council, said a new candidate would be discussed later Friday.

Russia's lawmakers said there were no obvious connections to a recent high-profile anti-corruption campaign in Ustinov's resignation.

"There is no way this is linked with anti-corruption cases," former justice minister Pavel Krasheninnikov, the head of the lower house of parliament's legal committee, said.

Following President Vladimir Putin's state of the nation address May 10, which highlighted the fight against corruption as a key issue, a number of senior security officers from the Federal Security Service (FSB) and high-ranking officials from the Federal Customs Service were fired as investigators launched a major probe into corruption. Ustinov said at the time that new high-profile criminal cases could be launched in the near future.

Lawmaker Alexander Khinshtein said the move could mean a planned rotation in the Prosecutor General's Office, and that Ustinov would likely get a new high post.

Ivan Kharchenko, deputy head of nationalist Rodina (Motherland) faction in the lower chamber, the State Duma, said he was surprised with the resignation, and communist faction leader Gennady Zyuganov said Ustinov's decision was correct.

"In the current situation, his decision is most likely correct, if ... an [unfavorable] climate and conditions impede effective work," Zyuganov said.

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