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Putin Gets New Chief of Staff

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) meets with his special representative on questions of ecology and transport Sergei Ivanov (L) and newly appointed head of the Kremlin administration Anton Vaino at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, August 12, 2016.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has named a new chief of staff after his powerful, long-term ally, Sergei Ivanov, was dismissed unexpectedly Friday.

The staff change is the biggest made inside the Kremlin in several years.

The reason of Ivanov's dismissal are unclear, but state media reported Putin as framing the decision as mutual during a meeting with Ivanov and his replacement, Anton Vaino.

"I remember well our agreement that you had asked me not to keep you as chief of the presidential administration for more than four years," Putin said. "That is why I understand your desire to choose another line of work."

Ivanov will continue to work as a special envoy for transportation and environment - a stark demotion for a man considered one of the most influential people in Russia.

Ivanov, who served with Putin in the Soviet-era KGB spy agency, was Russia's defense minister for six years before being appointed Kremlin chief of staff in 2011 - months before Putin's 2012 re-election.

His replacement, Vaino, was a Russian diplomat before becoming Ivanov's deputy in 2012.