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Putin Leaves Russian Cabinet Little-Changed, Brings In Close Ally's Son

New Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev
New Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev

Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a new cabinet, leaving several key officials in place and appointing a son of longtime ally Nikolai Patrushev as agriculture minister.

Putin approved the choices shortly after Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev presented them at a meeting in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on May 18.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, and Economic Development Minister Maksim Oreshkin are among those retaining their posts.

Two prominent members of the previous cabinet who were seen as members of the liberal economic camp in Russia's ruling elite, Igor Shuvalov and Arkady Dvorkovich, are not in the new government.

New Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev's hawkish father, Nikolai, is a former Federal Security Service (FSB) chief who now serves as secretary of Putin's advisory Security Council.

Under the constitution, the government was obliged to resign when Putin was inaugurated to a new term on May 7 after his election in March.

Putin quickly nominated Medvedev, who served as president in 2008-12 when Putin was barred from the Kremlin by a limit of two straight terms, to stay on as prime minister.

Analysts have said that Putin's decisions about the new government’s makeup raise questions about whether he will implement reforms that could be crucial to his ambitious economic goals, such as making Russia's GDP one of the top five in the world by 2024.

With reporting by AP, Vedomosti, and Novaya Gazeta
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