New Russian Cabinet revealed

The new Cabinet of the Russian government has been announced. It has not undergone significant changes in terms of structure, but several new personalities have appeared. In particular, the Ministries of Trade and Economic Development, of Health and Socia

Aleksey Kudrin was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and reserved the Minister of Finance post.  He was appointed Finance Minister back in May 2000 under the premiership of Mikhail Kasyanov. After the Cabinet reshuffle of 2004 when Mikhail Fradkov chaired the Russian government Aleksey Kudrin retained his post.

Two women appeared in the Russian Government, one of them being Elvira Nabiullina, the new Minister of Trade and Economic Development. She replaced German Gref who served as the Trade and Economic Development Minister since May 2000 and was re-appointed in 2004 under the premiership of Mikhail Fradkov.

Another one is Tatyana Golikova, the new Minister of Health and Social Development. This Ministry has been heavily criticised for the last couple of years, under the former Health and Social Development Minister, Mikhail Zurabov.

“Elvira Nabiullina is a well-known economist, a very liberal one. She was in charge of the work of the so-called Centre for Strategic Analysis which prepared many government’s programmes. But she was not regarded as the potential Minister of Trade and Economic Development. Tatyana Golikova, another woman in the government, was not mentioned as a possible Minister of Health and Social Development, though she is known as a very efficient administrator and a good economist,” commented Vyacheslav Nikonov, a political analyst and a member of the Public Chamber.

Dmitry Babich, a political analyst, said Mr Gref's and Mr Zurabov's resignations were not a surprise.

“Mr Gref’s resignation has been expected for a long time. He has been saying that Russia would join the WTO every year since 2004, and three years later the President seems to have run out of patience. So, Mr Gref’s removal is the biggest news I would say, but this news was expected because all talks with the WTO have been transferred from his ministry to another authority, and Kremlin watchers have known it for a long time. As for the resignation of Mr Zurabov, it was also expected because he was blamed for many problems that Russians faced during the recent reform – especially for problems with medical care and medicine supplies to the population. So it looks like President Putin has dropped the two most unpopular ministers of the previous government,” he informed.

Vladimir Yakovlev was replaced by Dmitry Kozak on the post of Minister of Regional Development.

Aleksey Kudrin
Aleksey Kudrin

Sergey Naryshkin, Aleksandr Zhukov and Sergey Lavrov reserved their posts.

Anatoly Serdyukov’s resignation from the post of Defence Minister was not accepted.

Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, held a speech before the Government and announced the Cabinet changes.

“The structure of the new Government has changed. The Head of the Cabinet [Viktor Zubkov] has submitted his proposal and now we have two new committees. It’s the State Committee on Youth Relations and another Committee on Fishing. And we have specified the functions of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. As for personal appointments, we have some changes in this area. We raise the status of the Finance Minister of the Russian Federation, Aleksey Kudrin, who will at the same time be Deputy Prime Minister. We also have a few new colleagues to be brought in. The new Minister of Regional Development is Dmitry Kozak, the Minister of Economic Development and Trade is Elvira Nabiullina. And the Minister of Health and Social Development is Tatyana Golikova. You all know the newly presented colleagues. These are highly professional specialists with good qualification who achieved high results in all positions they held. I believe that under the guidance of Prime Minister Zubkov the structure of the Cabinet will be drastically aiming for the strategic tasks for the development of the country. I would like to congratulate you on your appointments and wish you success,” President Putin said.

Viktor Linnik, a political analyst, said he awaited more changes in the government structure.

“It is a surprise that the big splash with the resignation of the Cabinet resulted in few changes because I see certain contradictions in the approach of the President and the Prime Minister to the structure of the new Cabinet. We were told many times that the structure of the current Cabinet is not something that satisfies the Kremlin,” he explained.