Ex-PM Fradkov to head Russian foreign intelligence

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DUSHANBE, Oct 6 (Reuters) Former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov will be appointed head of the country's foreign intelligence service, President Vladimir Putin said today.

Fradkov, 57, served as prime minister under Putin from 2004 until last month before being replaced by Viktor Zubkov in a government reshuffle ahead of parliamentary elections in December and presidential polls next March.

''As far as the name of the new head of the foreign intelligence service is concerned, he is Fradkov, Mikhail Yefimovich,'' Putin told reporters, using the surname, first name and patronymic of his new foreign intelligence chief.

Putin was in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, attending a series of summits of post-Soviet states.

Fradkov's predecessor as chief of the SVR foreign intelligence service was Sergei Lebedev, who on Friday was appointed executive secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States, which unites 12 former Soviet states.

REUTERS SKB PM1920

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