MOSCOW, July 28./TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s large-scale reshuffling in Russian regions on Thursday has no direct connection with the parliamentary elections due in September, it is routine reshuffling, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
"No, this has nothing to do with [recent] reshuffling in the FSB [leadership] and has no direct connection with the elections," he said.
"This is a routine iterative rotation activity of the head of state, certainly connected with a need to raise efficiency in some place and remedy the situation there where the pace of development leaves much to be desired," Peskov said. "This is routine rotation," he said.
Peskov said "painstaking work" had been done before the reshuffling.
The press services of the president and the government on Thursday released a package of documents on management reshuffling. Apart from this, the Crimean Federal District, formed in March 2014 following the peninsula’s reunification with Russia, was merged with the Southern Federal District "for the purpose of strengthening the operating efficiency of federal state bodies," the Kremlin said.
Vladimir Ustinov, who served as Russia’s Justice Minister between 2006 and 2008 and was appointed Presidential Envoy to the Southern Federal District in 2008, will remain envoy to the united district.
The Southern Federal District will now comprise the Republics of Crimea, Adygea and Kalmykia, the Krasnodar Territory, and the Astrakhan, Rostov and Volgograd Regions as well as the city of Sevastopol. Thus, the number of federal districts has been reduced to eight.
Oleg Belaventsev, the former Presidential Envoy to the Crimean Federal District, was appointed Presidential Envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District.
Sergei Melikov, the former Presidential Envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District, was appointed First Deputy Director of the Federal Service of the Russian National Guard.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed the current Governor of the Kaliningrad Region, Nikolai Tsukanov to the post of Presidential Envoy to the North-Western Federal District. Earlier on Thursday Putin dismissed Vladimir Bulavin from the position of Presidential Envoy in the North-Western Federal District.
Yevgeny Zinichev who earlier served as head of the regional FSB department was appointed acting Governor of the Kaliningrad region.
Putin also accepted the resignation of Sergei Yastrebov, Governor of the Yaroslavl Region, and appointed Dmitry Mironov who earlier had served as Deputy Interior Minister, to the post of acting Governor.
The president also signed on Thursday a decree to dismiss Kirov Governor Nikita Belykh for "losing the trust of the president of the Russian Federation", and in a follow-up decree appointed Igor Vasilyev as acting head of the region. Vasilyev served as head of the Rosreestr Federal Service, a government surveying authority.
Nikita Belykh was arrested in a Moscow restaurant on June 24 while in the process of taking a bribe.