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Russian president appoints new general

Russian President Vladimir Putin has reshuffled the nation's top military brass, appointing a new chief of the armed forces. The selection comes three days after Putin replaced the defense minister.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) speaks with newly appointed armed forces Chief-of-Staff Valery Gerasimov (R) and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu during their meeting in Moscow's Kremlin November 9, 2012. REUTERS/Alexsey Druginyn/RIA Novosti/Pool (RUSSIA - Tags: MILITARY POLITICS) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Vladimir Putin Valery Gerasimov Russland Moskau Kremlin

General Valery Gerasimov (pictured right), who served as a commander in Chechnya, will succeed General Nikolai Makarov, Putin announced on Friday, according to Russian news agencies. He also reshuffled several other top generals.

The announcement comes three days after Putin fired Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov over a corruption scandal, replacing him with Sergei Shoigu. Shoigu, a Moscow regional governor, is one of the president's closest friends and political allies.

Serdyukov oversaw the nation's most radical defense reform in decades, which led to the dismissal of 200,000 officers and disbanded nine out of 10 military units.

The effort was aimed at turning Russia's Soviet-style military into a leaner and more mobile force similar to Western armies.

hc/mz (AP, AFP)