May 21, 2012 (TSR) – Russian president Vladimir Putin announced the new cabinet on Monday that retained some of the outgoing government’s key figures but added a few fresh faces, cementing his grip on power as he begins his third presidential term.
Putin kept the foreign, defense and finance ministers, but replaced some of the most unpopular Cabinet members. The dismissals, however, do not necessarily mean that they have been completely purged from officialdom.
Putin said the new Cabinet led by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev should continue the course set in previous years and he warned the ministers they would be working in a stormy global environment.
“The situation in the global economy is unclear; there are quite a lot of factors that make it opaque,” Putin said in televised remarks to the new Cabinet. “You will have to fulfill a program of Russia’s development in these conditions.”
Vladislav Surkov, the architect of Putin’s domestic policies who was transferred to the Cabinet last fall, also has retained the position of a deputy prime minister.
Igor Sechin, Putin’s longtime aide who oversaw the oil and gas sector as a deputy prime minister, has lost his seat but is widely expected to retain his influence and continue overseeing top energy projects from behind the scenes.
Some of the most unpopular ministers, including those who were in charge of health, education, and interior affairs, have left the Cabinet. Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, who has faced massive public criticism over widespread incidents of torture and other abuses by police, has been replaced by Moscow police chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev, who has won some praise for his willingness to listen to criticism.
Tatyana Golikova, who has been seen as a culprit for the worsening state of the nation’s healthcare system amid a reform widely seen as badly planned and ill-guided, has been replaced by her deputy, Veronika Skvortsova. The highly unpopular former Education Minister Anatoly Fursenko was succeeded by Dmitry Livanov, the rector of the Moscow Steel University.
Amid the new faces in the Cabinet were Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets, who in the past were linked to tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov, the billionaire owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team. Prokhorov came in third in Russia’s presidential elections, winning liberal votes on the wave of massive protests against Putin’s rule, but then left the political scene, apparently reluctant to challenge Putin.
Novak recently served as a deputy finance minister, while Golodets was deputy mayor of Moscow.
The new minister of culture, Vladimir Medinsky, who succeeded the soft-spoken former diplomat Alexander Avdeyev, is a member of the main Kremlin party, United Russia, and has become known for his patriotic books praising Russia’s achievements.
THE FULL LIST:
First Deputy Prime Minister – Igor Shuvalov.
Deputy Prime Minister – Vladislav Surkov.
Deputy Prime Minister – Dmitry Kozak.
Deputy Prime Minister – Dmitry Rogozin.
Deputy Prime Minister – Arkady Dvorkovich.
Deputy Prime Minister – Olga Golodets. Ms Golodets will oversee social issues.
Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District – Alexander Khloponin.
Finance Minister – Anton Siluanov.
Energy Minister – Alexander Novak. Mr Novak was previously deputy finance minister.
Economic Development Minister – Andrei Belousov.
Labour and Social Protection Minister – Maxim Topilin.
Transport Minister – Maxim Sokolov.
Sports Minister – Vitaly Mutko.
Agriculture Minister – Nikolai Fedorov.
Communications and Mass Communications Minister – Nikolai Nikiforov.
Regional Development Minister – Oleg Govorun.
Minister in charge of Russia’s Far East Development and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District – Viktor Ishayev.
Industry and Trade Minister – Denis Manturov.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister – Sergei Donskoy.
Education and Science Minister – Dmitry Livanov.
Minister of Culture – Vladimir Medinsky.
Minister of Healthcare – Veronika Skvortsova.
Justice Minister – Alexander Konovalov.
Defence Minister – Anatoly Serdyukov.
Foreign Minister – Sergei Lavrov.
Minister of Civil Defence, Emergency Situations and Disaster Relief – Vladimir Puchkov.
Interior Minister – Vladimir Kolokoltsev.
Minister for Relations with the Open Government – Mikhail Abyzov.