The Soviet minister of internal affairs has been moved out of his job to await a "new appointment," the official news agency Tass reported tonight.
Vitaly Fedorchuk, 67, a former chief of the KGB security police and close associate of former Soviet leader Yuri Andropov, had held the post for three years.
The wording of the Tass announcement indicated that Fedorchuk is in good standing with the Kremlin leadership and may be in line for a promotion, western analysts here noted.
The new interior minister is Alexander Vlasov, 54, a party official with no known police background who for the past 10 years served as a regional party first secretary.
Fedorchuk, the former KGB chief in the Ukraine, had succeeded Andropov in the top KGB job in May 1982. But seven months later, Andropov, in one of his first moves as Soviet leader, moved his old associate over to the Internal Affairs Ministry, where he was charged with rooting out corruption.
The Internal Affairs Ministry heads the country's uniformed police and prosecutorial functions. Its former head, Nikolai Shchelokov, was implicated in corruption scandals during the last days of Leonid Brezhnev's tenure. Shchelokov was dismissed, stripped of his party rank and was awaiting trial when he died, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Fedorchuk is credited with having cleaned up the ministry. In recent months, a new and broader anticorruption campaign has been launched, and throughout the Soviet government, rumors have circulated of officials being fired and even arrested for misdeeds.
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, in power for more than 10 months, already has made sweeping personnel changes in government, in the party and on the ruling Politburo.
More changes are expected as the republics' party organizations finished their round of party conferences to prepare for the 27th congress of the Soviet Communist Party to begin on Feb. 25.
As of yesterday, the scorecard of major personnel changes kept by one western analyst showed that since Gorbachev took power, 19 of 59 ministers have been changed, as well as 45 of 159 regional party first secretaries and four of 14 republics' party first secretaries.
On the Council of Ministers, composed of ministers, chairmen of state committees and other government officials, 37 of 113 positions have been filled with new people.