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12 May, 2008 05:16

There will be new cabinet faces: Putin

Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says new blood will be unveiled for the country’s cabinet. The country is gripped with speculation about who will be included in the new government. Putin is meeting President Dmitry Medvedev to discuss the issue.

“The documents on the structure of the government and appointments for deputy chairman and federal ministers have been drafted,” Putin said, during the meeting, adding there will be new names in the government.

So far the structure of the new government is unknown, but Russia’s press has put forward its own theories. Monday’s government meeting will see at least the key ministers and vice-prime-ministers named, believes Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily.

The paper also speculates that the main question is how power will be divided between the new presidential administration and the new government headed by Putin.

Another paper, Vedomosti, believes the new government will be appointed quickly to avoid hampering the work of ministries.

Ekho Moskvy radio says the number of vice-prime-ministers will significantly increase, and claims the people Putin had in his administration will move into the government. Among them deputy presidential administration head Igor Sechin, the president’s press officer Aleksey Gromov, presidential aid Sergey Prihodko are named.

Some experts believe Victor Zubkov, Russia’s former Prime Minister, will stay in the government – a new position of vice-PM supervising controlling ministries will be created for him.

Vedomosti business daily says that the number of government agencies will be cut and their managing functions will be taken up by ministries.

The agencies proved to be less effective than expected, and some experts believe the government can function without them. But military and intelligence agencies, the so-called ‘siloviki’, are likely to stay, the daily reports.

Meanwhile, Radio Svobody claims some changes are possible in the structure of the Defence Ministry, where an internal struggle between generals and the minister has been going on.

Earlier, during his speech to State Duma deputies last week, Putin gave his thoughts on everything from foreign relations and military reform to taxation and education.

“We must have co-ordinated work from all branches of power and the closest partnership in the interests of all citizens of the country and successful development,” Putin told Duma Deputies.

“We have to increase the efficiency and stability of the national economy and develop human resources. We must also take steps in innovation and infrastructure and provide maximum conditions for business,” he went on to say.

The national financial market must be strengthened, he said, and inflation must be reduced.