Tuesday, September 02, 2014


Russia

Putin Announces New Government Stacked With Loyalists

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev arrive to watch Victory Day parade at Red Square in Moscow on May 9.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev arrive to watch Victory Day parade at Red Square in Moscow on May 9.
By RFE/RL
President Vladimir Putin has unveiled the lineup of a new Russian cabinet that is dominated by his allies.

According to the list revealed on May 21, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov will keep his post and will be in charge of overall Russian economic policy.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, and long-serving Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are also staying in their jobs.

One of the new faces in the cabinet is Arkady Dvorkovich, who is coming on as one of seven deputy prime ministers.

Explainer: The Key Players In Russia's New Government

Reports said Dvorkovich, a former economic adviser to ex-President and current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, would have responsibility for energy and industry policy.

Moscow police chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev replaces Rashid Nurgaliyev as interior minister.

Nurgaliyev, who had been in the post since 2003, had come under criticism over a number of scandals involving Russia’s police force.

In the run-up to the announcement on May 21, Medvedev had promised substantial changes in the cabinet to address the concerns of dissatisfied voters.

On May 7, Putin began his third term as president after an election that sparked unprecedented mass protests against his continued rule.

Putin had served as prime minister for the last four years upon having to relinquish the presidency in 2008 after serving the maximum two consecutive terms in office.

Putin has spent the last 12 years at the pinnacle of Russia's upper echelons of power.

'Uncertain Situation'

Meeting with members of the new cabinet in the Kremlin on May 21, Putin said the government should continue the course set by his administration in previous years.

The new president told ministers that they will have to fulfill their duties in a difficult global economic climate.

"The world economy is in an uncertain situation now," he said. "There are a lot uncertainty factors. These are the conditions in which you will have to implement Russia's development program."

Two of the cabinet posts will be held by women, including newcomer Olga Golodets, who will be deputy prime minister in charge of social issues.

Politicians in charge of the health, education, and interior ministries, who had faced strong criticism for their performances, were replaced.

A close Putin ally, Igor Sechin, lost his post as deputy prime minister.

Nonetheless, he is expected to maintain broad influence over energy policy after Putin nominated him to the board of the main state energy holding company on his last day as prime minister.

Putin cited the need to work on the new government as the reason for his decision not to attend a Group of Eight summit in the United States at the weekend.

Medvedev went to the summit hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama in Putin's place.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and Interfax
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