Putin appoints another economist as deputy Russian defence minister

FILE PHOTO: Inauguration of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin on Monday appointed former deputy economy minister Oleg Savelyev as a deputy defence minister, according to a published decree, in a further sign of his intention to improve the efficiency of Russia's war economy.

Putin sprang a surprise last week by removing defence minister Sergei Shoigu and replacing him with Andrei Belousov, an economist and former deputy prime minister. The move was widely seen as aimed at getting more value from defence spending and cleaning up the defence ministry, which has been hit by a major bribery scandal.

Savelyev worked in the economy ministry from 2008 to 2014 and briefly served as a deputy to Belousov, who headed the ministry at the time.

After Russia's annexation of Crimea, Savelyev served as Minister for Crimean Affairs in 2014-2015. For the past five years, he has been an auditor for the Russian Accounts Chamber, overseeing state defence and security spending.

(Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; Writing by Maxim Rodionov; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)