Russia reappoints key ministers

Several senior ministers have been reappointed to Russia’s cabinet, in another sign of stability by Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev. Prime Minister Putin presented his proposals during a meeting with President Medvedev.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin, Trade and Economic Minister Elvira Nabiullina and Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov have been reappointed to their posts.

The number of Deputy Prime Ministers is increasing from five to seven.

Igor Shuvalov and Viktor Zubkov become First Deputy Prime Ministers.

Igor Sechin, Sergey Ivanov and Sergey Sobyanin have been appointed Deputy Prime Ministers, while Aleksandr Zhukov and Aleksey Kudrin remain in their positions.

Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Zhukov will oversee the implementation of  priority  national  projects,  except  for  one  on agriculture,  and  the  implementation  of  government  policy on education,  healthcare, social security, affordable housing, culture and arts.

Zhukov will also be entrusted with promoting physical education and sports, including preparations for the Olympic Games in Sochi, tourism development and liaisons with religious organizations.

Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin will be in charge of industrial evelopment, except for the defence industry and energy sector. He is also in charge of nature management policy and the environment, technological and nuclear oversight.

Aleksandr Konovalov has been appointed Russia's new Justice Minister.

Aleksey Gordeev remains Agriculture Minister.

Former FSB Head Patrushev has been promoted to Security Council Chief. Aleksandr Bortnikov replaces Partushev on the post.

A new ministry of Sport, Tourism and Youth has been introduced and a new agency for CIS affairs has been established.

Minpromenergo has been divided into the Energy ministry with Sergey Smatko at the helm and the ministry of industry headed by Viktor Khristenko, the former head of Minpromenergo.

Meanwhile, former Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Naryshkin has become the head of presidential administration.

Among other appointments, Dmitry Medvedev made former presidential Press Attache Aleksey Gromov his personal aide and the Deputy Chief of Staff of his office.

“In a very short time, we should transform our plans into actual laws. We should submit a number of bills to the State Duma as early as this spring session and the autumn session,” Putin said.  

“These will include bills on developing our financial market and taxation and supporting businesses. Also, before the end of this year, we need to provide a legislative basis for a fundamental reform in the social sphere, in education and in health care,” he concluded.

Experts mull over appointments

“Some people got promotion, but this was quite predictable. Indeed, those people worked with Mr Putin for a number of years and they were successful,” said Evgeny Bazhanov, Deputy Head of Diplomatic Academy of Russia's Foreign Ministry.

The new Russian government will be the greatest in the country's history, German analyst Aleksandr Rahr told the Interfax newsagency on Monday. “We  are  dealing  with the strongest government ever. All the main political heavyweights are there,” he said.

Political analyst Dmitry Babich says there might be a huge shift of power from the Kremlin to Russia's government headquarters at the White House.

“That’s the intrigue we are going to see in the next few months. If all the people from the presidential administration move to the White House, does it mean that now the White House is more important?” he said.