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Putin Makes First Changes to Cabinet

Aired March 28, 2001 - 7:31 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN ANCHOR: To Russia now, where Russian President Vladimir Putin has made some big changes to his Cabinet, the first changes since coming to power.

CNN's Jill Dougherty is in Moscow and comes to us now with the latest on this.

Hi, Jill.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Colleen.

Well, one of the biggest changes is in the defense minister: Igor Sergeyev is out. He will be retiring. And Sergei Ivanov, who is the head of the security council, a very senior adviser to President Putin, will be stepping in. He will be the first civilian to head up the Defense Ministry.

Also, by the way, there is a woman who is going to be the deputy defense minister.

The explanation from President Putin this afternoon, at a meeting with his defense council, was that this is due to events in the north Caucuses, and that, of course, is the area around Chechnya.

He also said, in connection with having a civilian heading up the Defense Ministry, that this is a step in what he called the demilitarization of society -- Colleen.

MCEDWARDS: All right, CNN's Jill Dougherty, in Moscow, thanks.

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