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Traffic Cop to Oversee Airport Safety

Viktor Kiryanov, left, had headed the country’s traffic police force since 2003. Igor Tabakov

The country's top traffic cop was promoted on Monday to oversee transportation security nationwide after last week's Domodedovo bombing.

President Dmitry Medvedev appointed Viktor Kiryanov to the new post of deputy interior minister in charge of transportation security and ordered him to draft a detailed plan of reforms in the area within the next few weeks.

"To work!" Medvedev told Kiryanov at a one-on-one meeting, the Kremlin's web site reported.

The blast in Domodedovo Airport's international arrivals hall killed 35 on Jan. 24. Medvedev has blamed poor security but not identified any specific areas that need improvement.

Kiryanov, 58, had headed the country's notoriously corrupt traffic police since 2003, and the portfolio of road safety was added to his duties in 2004.

No replacement for him was named Monday.

The number of road accidents countrywide has declined from about 234,000 in 2007 to almost 200,000 last year, but motorists said it was because of the improved quality of roads and car safety, not Kiryanov's achievements.

Kiryanov was mired in several scandals during his time in office, including a road accident when his car hit and injured a woman in 2008. No charges were filed against Kiryanov, and he received an award for his "big input into road safety" from the government later the same year.

Kiryanov also proved himself a pious man, helping facilitate the return of the Orthodox Icon of Tikhvin's Godmother from the United States to his native town of Tikhvin in the Leningrad region in 2004.

Kiryanov's new duties were not spelled out Monday, but two defenders of motorists' rights said they were not inspired by his track record.

Alexei Dozorov, head of the Moscow branch of the Public Committee to Protect Drivers' Rights, complained that Kiryanov failed to fight rampant bribery among the traffic police.

Andrei Oryol, a senior member of the Federation of Russian Car Owners, said Kiryanov made "no radical changes" in the work of the traffic police during his tenure.

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