President Dmitry Medvedev has dismissed a deputy Russian justice minister and appointed a new interior minister in the volatile North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia as part of his efforts to improve law enforcement in Russia, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.
Yury Kalinin, who previously headed the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) for five years, was appointed deputy justice minister in August 2009.
In January, it was announced that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had removed Kalinin from a government commission on crime prevention.
Medvedev has recently dismissed a number of top local and federal FSIN officials after several deaths in Russian pre-trial detention centers sparked a wave of criticism across the country. The situation came to international attention in November with the death of a lawyer representing London-based hedge fund Hermitage Capital.
Putin said while on a visit to France that Sergei Magnitsky's death in pre-trial detention was "a tragedy" and a top prison official admitted the Federal Penitentiary Service was partly to blame.
Major General Viktor Pogolov was appointed interior minister of the republic of Ingushetia, which saw an upsurge of militant violence lately, with frequent attacks on police and officials.
The position had been vacant since August 2009, when Ruslan Meyriyev was dismissed following a terror attack in the republic's largest city of Nazran, which left 24 dead and 20 wounded. Ingushetia's deputy interior minister, Valery Zhernov, was then appointed acting interior minster.
Pogolov earlier served as criminal police chief in the Saratov region in Russia's Volga area.
Medvedev announced in December extensive Interior Ministry reforms. Following a series of brutal crimes by police officers, the president has moved to introduce tougher punishment for police found guilty of crimes, submitting a bill to parliament imposing harsher sentences than for civilians convicted of similar offences.
MOSCOW, March 16 (RIA Novosti)