Putin puts stamp on new Russia government
Kept his most trusted allies in charge of finance while leaving tested veterans at the helm of foreign affairs and defence
I / Moscow May 21, 2012, 18:38 IST
President Vladimir Putin put his stamp on a new government today that kept his most trusted allies in charge of finance while leaving tested veterans at the helm of foreign affairs and defence.
But the cabinet also left some room for open-market reformers, with the appointment of a liberal aide of current premier and Putin's predecessor Dmitry Medvedev to a key industry post.
"The situation the world economy finds itself in today is uncertain. There are a lot of uncertainty factors," Putin told his new government in televised remarks.
"You will have to implement Russia's development programme in these conditions."
Putin's crushing victory in March elections sparked immediate fears of a return to the confrontational tone with the West that characterised much of his 2000-2008 presidency.
The former KGB spy and his protege Medvedev went on to complete a controversial job swap after the polls that will stretch Putin's 12-year domination until 2018 and was one of the primary triggers for a series of mass protests in recent months.
Many of the faces in Russia's new cabinet featured in the outgoing government while some of those not making the cut are expected instead to move over to Putin's Kremlin administration.
Putin kept close ally Igor Shuvalov as first deputy prime minister in charge of finance while handing the vital industry sector to Medvedev's former adviser Arkady Dvorkovich -- a market darling who favours privatisation.
The finance ministry brief went to its current holder and Russian budget mastermind Anton Siluanov while senior cabinet veteran Andrei Belousov was named the new economic development minister.
Putin also reappointed the long-serving Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov while replacing his scandal-tainted interior minister Rushid Nurgaliyev with Moscow police chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev.
Russia's current energy czar Igor Sechin -- viewed as one of Putin's most powerful and trusted allies -- left Medvedev's cabinet but was still expected to keep broad influence over industry and future oil and gas deals.
He was recently nominated to the board of the state oil firm's natural gas unit and has been mentioned for a post as a possible Putin adviser in the Kremlin to orchestrate industrial issues.
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