Russian president fires security officers: Kremlin

Russian president fires security officers: Kremlin

"The head of the Federal Security Service gave (Medvedev) a list of employees responsible for miscalculations in their work, who were fired for inadequately carrying out their responsibilities," Kremlin spokeswoman Natalia Timakova was quoted by the ITAR-TASS agency as saying.

If the investigation shows that more security service employees are at fault for letting the attack happen, "they, too, will be punished," she said.

Neither the exact number of employees nor the precise list of names have been released to the public.

The dismissals come after the FSB became the target of blame in the press for failing to prevent the suicide bombing in Domodedovo airport on January 24, which killed 36 people.

The secretive service, which handles domestic intelligence and grew out of the Soviet KGB, has not ever gone through any public scrutiny despite the spread of militant attacks from the Caucasus area into European Russia.

Its head Alexander Bortnikov has been in his seat since the May 2008 appointment by the Russian president and escaped with his career unscathed after two suicide bombings killed 40 in the Moscow metro last March.

Medvedev has so far focused the blame for the attack on mid-level police officials and the management of Domodedovo airport.

But observers have said repeatedly that it was primarily the fault of the security service which is failing to prevent militants from dispatching suicide bombers to Russian cities.