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Kremlin Fires 22 Police Generals

President Dmitry Medvedev dismissed 22 police generals and reappointed 19 others over the weekend, the Kremlin said, as the country's police force undergoes a broad, Kremlin-ordered reform.

Eight of the removed generals headed regional police departments, and five others held senior posts in the regions. Three held jobs at Interior Ministry higher education establishments. Three senior Moscow police officers also lost their jobs, as did the head of the ministry's Interpol section.

The Kremlin provided no reasons for the move, but the Interior Ministry's press service told Interfax that several voluntarily resigned; three, including the Interpol section chief, were removed after reaching mandatory retirement age; and several others were fired as part of a planned trimming of the police force.

The reform, initiated in March, calls for a 20 percent cut in the police force, down to 1 million officers, with 200,000 being let go after taking mandatory re-evaluation tests. The number of police generals is expected to drop from 427 to 340.

Medvedev said last month that a commission evaluating the top police brass has proposed retaining 145 of the 179 officers examined so far. He named no names and said he would personally review their cases before deciding who stayed.

Nineteen chiefs for regional police departments were reappointed between Thursday and Saturday, including several promoted to the rank of general, the Kremlin said. Another 16 police generals were allowed to keep their jobs in various levels of the police force after passing re-evaluation tests.

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