Putin replaces forest agency chief after fires

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Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday replaced the head of Russia's forestry agency, after the authorities were heavily criticised for failing to halt the spread of deadly wildfires.

Putin announced at a government meeting that the previous head of Rosleskhoz, Alexei Savinov, would be replaced by Viktor Maslyakov who has served as mayor of the northern city of Petrozavodsk, news agencies said.

Russia's worst ever wildfires killed over 50 people and left hundreds of thousands of hectares of land ablaze in a disaster critics have said would have been milder if the authorities had acted quicker.

© 2010 AFP

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