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Defense Ministry confirms spy chief retirement

RIA Novosti

16:39 26/12/2011

MOSCOW, December 26 (RIA Novosti) - Col. Gen. Alexander Shlyakhturov has retired as chief of Russia’s military intelligence agency and handed over his duties to Maj. Gen. Igor Sergun, a Defense Ministry spokesman said on Monday.

Shlyakhturov, 64, who has led the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of Russia's Armed Forces (GRU) since April 2009, left his post because he has passed the age limit for service, the spokesman said.

Earlier on Monday, government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta denied an unattributed December 24 report by the Kommersant daily that Shlyakhturov had left his post.

Rossiiskaya Gazeta quoted an unauthorized source as saying Shlyakhturov continues working for the GRU and has not handed over his duties to anyone.

Little is known about Shlyakhturov's biography and service record.

Kommersant said in its report Shlyakhturov would in the near future head the board of directors of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology (MITT), the developer of the Bulava ballistic missile and other strategic missile systems.

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