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Moscow's New Top Traffic Cop From Yaroslavl

President Dmitry Medvedev has appointed a “responsible professional” not connected to Moscow's elite to head its traffic police, replacing General Sergei Kazantsev, who asked to resign last year after a decade in the post.

A decree appointing police Colonel Alexander Ilyin, 48, a former head of the Yaroslavl region traffic police, to oversee Moscow's force was published on the Kremlin's web site Saturday.

Kazantsev, 58, cited old age for quitting, but he faced several scandals during his later years in office, including an incident when traffic cops flagged down cars to form a road block to stop a fleeing petty thief. Headlines about the roadblock prompted calls for Kazantsev's sacking.

Ilyin headed the Yaroslavl traffic police for 13 years, managing to slash the number of road fatalities by a third over that time, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported.

Sergei Terekhin, head of the Yaroslavl branch of the Russian Federation of Car Owners, called Ilyin a “responsible professional,” the report said.

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