MOSCOW, June 13. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree dismissing Police Major General Andrei Puchkov, the chief of Moscow’s Western Administrative District police force, which opened a criminal case against Ivan Golunov, an investigative reporter of the Meduza news website, as well as chief of the Drug Control Department of the Moscow police force Police Major General Yuri Devyatkin, the Kremlin press service said on Thursday.
"Police Major General Yuri Devyatkin, the chief of the Drug Control Department of the Moscow police force, and Police Major General Andrei Puchkov, the chief of Moscow’s Western Administrative District police force, are hereby dismissed," the decree reads.
Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev earlier asked the head of state to dismiss the two generals over Golunov’s case. Kolokoltsev said on Tuesday that charges against the journalist had been dropped "for a lack of evidence proving his involvement." Golunov was released from house arrest, while the Interior Ministry sent the results of an internal probe to the Russian Investigative Committee that will assess the legitimacy of actions taken by police officers involved in Golunov’s detention. For now, they have been suspended from duty.
On June 6, Golunov was hauled off in downtown Moscow and taken to a local police station on charges of illegally producing, selling and transporting drugs. According to police, Golunov was carrying four grams of mephedrone, a synthetic stimulant drug, while five grams of cocaine were found during a search of his rented apartment. Moscow’s Nikulinsky District Court placed the journalist under house arrest. Golunov’s lawyer Dmitry Dzhulai said that drugs could have been planted on his client. The incident sparked a wide public outcry.