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Russian President Vladimir Putin Dumps Defense Chief

ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- While America was electing its leader Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin was struggling to keep his leadership intact.

Putin had to do some head swapping after firing Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, replacing him with Sergei Shoigu.  Both men are close allies of Putin.

However, Serdyukov fell out of favor with the president after a police raid of a real estate company appeared to link the former defense chief with the privatization of ministry land near Moscow.

That might have actually been an excuse for Putin to get rid of Serdyukov since the real reason for his ouster might have had more to do with a falling out with his father-in-law, who also happens to be close to Putin.

Serdyukov also wasn't a favorite with the Russian military after downsizing the army through forced retirements of hundreds of active-duty generals and tens of thousands of officers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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