Head of Biggest Soviet Republic Out in Shuffle

Associated Press

Soviet officials today capped the biggest shake-up in Mikhail S. Gorbachev's 3 1/2 years in power by replacing Politburo member Vitaly I. Vorotnikov as premier of the Russian republic.

The Supreme Soviet of the Russian Republic, the largest of the 15 Soviet republics, elected Interior Minister Alexander V. Vlasov--an ally of Gorbachev--as the new premier. Vlasov was named a candidate member of the Politburo during a Central Committee meeting Friday.

The 62-year-old Vorotnikov was moved to the ceremonial job of president of Russia. Vladimir P. Orlov, the 67-year-old president of the republic, retired.

Tass press agency said Gorbachev recommended the changes.

One Western diplomat said Vorotnikov was considered a "swing" vote on the Politburo who generally supported Gorbachev's reforms but was "not zealous."

Vlasov had worked in Gorbachev's home area of southern Russia before becoming interior minister, in charge of the police, in 1986. His replacement is to be named by national authorities.

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