* Two new appointees are allies of new defence minister
* Reshuffle on heels of probe into ministry corruption
(Adds Russian Technologies statement)
MOSCOW, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin
fired two defence ministry deputies on Thursday, broadening a
reshuffle after the sacking of the defence minister last week
over a fraud investigation.
Putin dismissed deputy minister Yelena Kozlova, who oversaw
finances, and Dmitry Chushkin, who was in charge of
communications technologies, naming two associates of the new
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu as their replacements.
The move strengthens the grip of Putin and Shoigu at the
ministry, which channels billions of tax dollars every year
through Russia's huge defence industry, the world's second
largest arms exporter.
"With his order, the president has released the Defence
Ministry deputies ... from their positions," said a statement
published on the Kremlin website.
Putin fired Anatoly Serdyukov as defence minister on Nov. 6
and replaced the head of the armed forces general staff three
Shoigu and his allies are expected to push through root and
branch military reform and oversee spending of 23 trillion
roubles ($724 billion) to replace Russia's ageing armaments by
the end of the decade.
One of the new deputy ministers is Ruslan Tsalikov, a
trusted Shoigu ally who worked directly under him in the
Emergencies Ministry and then again in the Moscow region when
Shoigu moved to become governor of the province.
The other newcomer is Yuri Borisov, the first deputy
chairman of a defence industry board.
Serdyukov was dismissed last week soon after the start of an
investigation into suspicions that a defence ministry firm sold
property to insider companies at a loss of almost $100 million.
The ex-minister has not yet come under investigation himself.
The public announcement of Serdyukov's dismissal was likely
meant to show that Putin entering his third term as president is
serious about cracking down on corruption that is rife in the
armed forces and defence industry.
Defence firm Russian Technologies on Thursday evening denied
media reports saying Serdyukov had been appointed as a
consultant to the company's head, Sergei Chemezov.
Russia's Investigative Committee, which answers only to
Putin, has said its defence ministry fraud investigation will
(Additional reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Editing by Mark