Report: Vladimir Putin Fires Security Officials

President Vladimir Putin fired several high-ranking security and law enforcement officials on Friday, Russian news agencies reported.

Officials in the Federal Security Service, Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor General's Office were among those dismissed, the reports said.

The news agencies did not offer reasons for the firings, but in his state of the nation speech this week, Putin vowed to step up the fight against government corruption.

In the Federal Security Service, the main successor to the Soviet KGB, officials responsible for fighting terrorism, threats to constitutional order and drug trafficking were fired, the ITAR-Tass news agency said.

Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev fired several officials from a single investigative arm of the police body, RIA-Novosti reported.

Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov fired the chief Moscow prosecutor's top deputy and the top deputy to the head of a department that oversees the activities of the police, prosecutors and other law enforcement agencies, the reports said.

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov fired the head of the Federal Customs Service and two deputies, a day after Putin handed him control of the service amid a broad corruption investigation that also involved the Ministry of Trade and Economic Development.

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It was not immediately clear whether the firings in the Customs Service were related to the shake-up in other law enforcement agencies.

Also Friday, the speaker of the upper parliament house, the Federation Council, recommended that four members of the chamber — representatives of four different regions in Siberia and the Russian Far East — be relieved of their seats, Interfax reported.

Aside from the Customs Service chief, the reports indicated that no minister or head of a federal agency was dismissed.

Putin opened his state of the nation speech Wednesday with an attack on corruption, saying it was among the "most serious impediments" to Russia's growth and quoting from a speech in which President Franklin D. Roosevelt chastised "those who seek high positions or wealth, or perhaps both ... at the expense of the general good."

Criticism of corruption has been a staple in speeches from Putin and his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, but neither of Russia's post-Soviet presidents has made much progress against the problem.