Magazine article Russian Life

The Putin Shuffle

Magazine article Russian Life

The Putin Shuffle

Article excerpt

Less than two weeks after his reelection, President Putin, who had shuffled his government just prior to the election, slashed the size of his presidential administration. The number of deputies to the president's chief-of-staff (Dmitry Medvedev) was reduced from eight to two, leaving just lgor Sechin and Vladislav Surkov. Analysts said these two figures are supported by opposing political clans, so Putin made a compromise by keeping them both. Sechin is closely linked to the siloviki, or law-enforcement agencies. Surkov is said to have orchestrated the Duma elections last December, in which the pro-Putin United Russia party won two-thirds of the seats, and was linked to "The Family"--Yeltsin administration holdovers. The other six deputies to the chief-of-staff were demoted to presidential aides.

Another major change was Putin's disbanding of his administration's economic department. Analysts said that the economic department, which used to evaluate the cabinet's economic decisions rather than shape the country's economic policy, was no longer needed, as the Kremlin has established firm control over the cabinet's decisions.

On March 1, in Putin's pre-election shuffle, the president fired Mikhail Kasyanov and replaced him with Mikhail Fradkov, previously Russia's envoy to the EU and, before that, Head of the Tax Police. …

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