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Putin dismisses powerful chief of staff

Russian President Vladimir Putin (centre) speaks with his newly-appointed chief-of-staff Anton Vaino (right) and his predecessor Sergei Ivanov during a meeting at the Kremlin, on August 12, 2016Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday unexpectedly dismissed his close ally and powerful chief of staff Sergei Ivanov, in the highest-level change inside the Kremlin in several years. Ivanov — who served with Putin in the Soviet-era KGB spy agency — was replaced by his deputy Anton Vaino. Many observers had considered Ivanov a leading candidate to take over from Putin as president when his second term ended in 2008.

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