President Vladimir V. Putin fired the head of Russia’s navy on Sunday and called on the new commander to boost discipline in the flagging fleet after a pair of submarine disasters.
Putin did not give a specific reason for sacking Adm. Vladimir Kuroyedov and replacing him with Adm. Vladimir Masorin.
But he indicated that Kuroyedov was bearing the blame for a series of embarrassments in the navy.
Last month, a mini-sub with seven men aboard was trapped at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
Unable to rescue them, the navy had to turn to emergency help from abroad. An underwater robotic vessel sent from Britain was able to save all seven sailors.
Kuroyedov also presided over the navy during the 2000 Kursk submarine sinking that killed 118 crew members. Last year, he publicly said that a Russian nuclear-powered missile cruiser was in such dire condition that it could explode at any moment. He was forced to retract the statement.
At a meeting at his suburban residence with the two admirals and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, Putin told Kuroyedov that the navy he inherited when he took command in 1997 was in poor shape and that it had improved.
“At the same time, there were difficult events, tragedies,” Putin said during the meeting, which was attended by reporters. “But I would like to underline once again that with all these problems, all these tragedies, the main thing is that the navy is undergoing a revival.”
He told Masorin that he faced a difficult task, in spite of progress.