FSB Moscow branch chief could resign soon

A decree accepting Col. Gen. Viktor Zakharov's resignation as the director of the Russian Federal Security Service's (FSB) branch for Moscow and the Moscow region has already been submitted to President Vladimir Putin for signing, the Izvestia newspaper reported on Friday.

"A decree on Zakharov's resignation was prepared a few days ago, but it is still lying on the table of President Vladimir Putin, who should sign it," a source in special services told Izvestia.

The formal reason given for Zakharov's resignation is the officer's age, the newspaper's source said. Zakharov is 62 years old, which is the maximum retirement age.

Other special service sources, for their part, told Izvestia that another reason behind the general's resignation could be his daughter's marriage to a foreigner.

According to them, one of Zakharov's two daughters allegedly got married to a foreign citizen a year ago and is currently residing in Miami.

"In principle, laws do not prohibit members of security service officers' family from getting married to foreigners. The main requirement is that they must notify certain supervisors about their plans in advance," one of the sources told the newspaper.

"Possibly, it is unacceptable for holders of state secrets of Zakharov's rank to "have relatives abroad," he said.

In the past year, Zakharov received repeated hints that he ought to step down, but the general refused to do so, the source said.

FSB "M" Department chief Alexei Dorofeyev, who previously headed the service's Karelia branch, but was dismissed over riots in the small Karelian town of Kondopoga, could replace Zakharov, Izvestia said.

A year ago, FSB Dagestan branch chief Yevgeny Tishkun, was viewed as the lost likely successor of Zakharov, the newspaper said.

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