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Sergey Ivanov

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Updated: 09.10.2003

Russia's defence minister

Born in 1953 in Leningrad, Sergey Ivanov is the right hand of the President Putin, his like-minded person, the old colleague and the authorised representative. It is obvious that Vladimir Putin appreciates not only chekist experience and Sergey Ivanov's business talents, but also his fidelity tested during the long years of teamwork on "invisible front" and personal friendship. Sergey Ivanov is the first one to officially announce and prove basic Putin's ideas - already on behalf of the new authority. On all major negotiations and the summits Sergey Ivanov is close to the President.

Sergey Ivanov has ended Translation Department of the Linguistics Faculty of the Leningrad State University (he speaks fluently both English and Swedish), and the advanced training of KGB of the USSR in Minsk. After the reorganisation of the KGB he has continued to work in the Service of External Investigation of the Russian Federation, and then in the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation.

Before august 1998 he headed department of the analysis, forecast and strategic planning of FSS, then he was appointed a deputy minister of the FSS. In November 1999 he was appointed the secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, replacing Vladimir Putin's position.

In March 2001 Mr Putin changed his key security ministers in his most sweeping cabinet reshuffle since taking office. Mr Sergey Ivanov replaced Mr Igor Sergeyev, who has taken much of the blame for the army's bungled Chechnya operations, while Interior Minister Mr Vladimir Rushailo was effectively moved sideways, replacing Mr Ivanov as the head of the Security Council, and was replaced by a Putin loyalist, Mr Boris Gryzlov, the leader of the pro-Kremlin Unity Party in parliament.

Mr Putin announced that the moves were aimed at demilitarising Russia with Mr Ivanov becoming the first nonmilitary official to become Defence Minister.

Taking the office, Mr Ivanov has overseen plans to reform radically the nation's military, starting plans to cut personnel from 1.2 million to 800,000.

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