Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise change in the Kremlin, dismissing Sergei Ivanov, his chief-of-staff since December 2011, as he makes style for younger blood by replacing some long-time allies.

Anton Vaino, 44, will replace Ivanov, the Kremlin said in a statement on Friday. Vaino had been deputy chief-of-staff since May 2012, when Putin returned to the Kremlin for a third term as chairwoman. Before that, he was head of protocol and then head of government faculty when Putin was “ministers “. Born in Tallinn to a Soviet political family, Vaino is the grandson of Karl Vaino, the first secretary of the Estonian Communist Party from 1978 to 1988.

Putin is czar so he needs a team of younger people the hell is 100 percentage his, that havent had any authority in their lives other than him, ” Igor Bunin, director of the Moscow-based Center for Political Technologies, said by phone. Ivanov knows not only Putin but knew Leonid Brezhnev as well and is a broad-minded person. And this created some inconvenience for Putin.

As a is part of Putins closest circle, Ivanov, 63, was one of the handful of officials who worked on operations in Crimea, eastern Ukraine and Syria, Bunin said. The change is a part of a technocratic reform Putin hopes will lower the political risks from Russias current economic hardships, he said. Last month, Putin placed trusted security officials in key stances, carrying out a large shuffle of regional governors and envoys as Russia prepares for parliamentary elections in September.

Putin discussed the changes with both men in a meeting shown on country television, saying it was Ivanovs request to switch to another job after four years. The chairpeople term expires in 2018. Ivanov was appointed Putins special representative for surrounding and transportation.

Ivanov, who had also served as defense minister and as deputy prime minister, worked with Putin in the KGB in Leningrad in the 1970 s. In 2007, Ivanov was seen as a potential successor to Putin. Instead, current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev took a four-year turning as president from 2008.

In the past year, Putin has rejected several long-time allies, including Vladimir Yakunin, 68, who was head of Russian Railways JSC for a decade, and Vladimir Dmitriev, 62, who oversaw the indebted country development lender Vnesheconombank. He installed younger managers to help steer the companies during the countrys longest recession in two decades.

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