Prime Minister Putin appoints new government
12/05/2008 18:48 (Recasts, adds details throughout)
MOSCOW, May 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced his new government on Monday, keeping the main ministers in their posts and bringing in several former Kremlin aides.
Putin proposed the new lineup at a meeting with his hand-picked successor Dmitry Medvedev, who approved the appointments. The finance, defense, interior, and foreign ministers, along with several other prominent Cabinet figures, remain unchanged.
Under a decree signed by President Medvedev, the number of deputy premiers has been increased from five to seven. Ex-premier Viktor Zubkov and former presidential aide Igor Shuvalov will be first deputy prime ministers.
Zubkov will be in charge of a national project in agriculture, fisheries, and the timber industry, and will supervise several government commissions on these issues.
Shuvalov, who previously served as Putin's top economics advisor, will oversee economic and social issues as well as foreign economic ties.
Medvedev announced that Alexander Bortnikov, who previously headed the economic security department of the Federal Security Service (FSB), has been appointed as head of the FSB, leaving former chief Nikolai Patrushev to head the national Security Council.
The five deputy prime ministers will be Sergei Ivanov, who earlier held the higher post of first deputy prime minister, Sergei Sobyanin, who will also be chief of government staff, Alexander Zhukov, who has been placed in charge of national projects, Igor Sechin, who will be overseeing energy, and Alexei Kudrin, who retains the post of finance minister.
Zhukov and Kudrin were deputy premiers in the previous Cabinet, while Sobyanin and Sechin were head and deputy head of the Kremlin administration, respectively.
Zhukov will be responsible for priority national projects, and state policy in education, healthcare, and the social sector.
Sechin, who chairs the board of directors of state-run oil giant Rosneft, will handle state policy in the energy sector, mineral extraction, and environmental protection measures, while Sobyanin will oversee the division of powers between federal bodies.
Kudrin will be in charge of guiding social and economic development, the implementation of a single fiscal and monetary policy, financial planning, the state budget, the investment policy and state debt management.
Two other former Putin aides have been introduced to the new Cabinet, taking the posts of justice minister and communications minister.
Former presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District Alexander Konovalov has replaced Vladimir Ustinov as justice minister, while former Kremlin protocol chief Igor Shchyogolev has become minister of communications.
Shchyogolev's new ministry takes on powers from two former ministries - the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications and the Ministry of Culture and Mass Communications.
Former ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to France Alexander Avdeyev has been appointed as culture minister.
Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, have retained their positions in the new Cabinet, as have Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu, Health and Social Development Minister Tatiana Golikova, Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev, Education and Science Minister Andrei Fursenko, Regional Development Minister Dmitry Kozak, Minister of Natural Resources Yury Trutnev and Transportation Minister Igor Levitin.
The ministry of economic development and trade has been reorganized, losing its trade functions.
Elvira Nabiullina, who headed the old ministry, will be minister of economic development, while the new ministry of industry and trade will be headed by Viktor Khristenko, the former minister of industry and energy.
The new Energy Ministry will be led by Sergei Shmatko, the former president of Atomstroyexport, the country's nuclear power equipment and services export monopoly. The company is best known internationally for its project to build Iran's first nuclear power plant.
The government will also have a new ministry of sports, tourism and youth policy, to be led by the head of the Russian Football Union, Vitaly Mutko, and a federal agency for CIS affairs.
Several ministerial agencies, including the Federal Agency for Industry, the Federal Agency for Construction and Housing and Communal Services, the Federal Agency for Public Health and Human Services, will be scrapped.
Putin has dismissed Alexander Denisov as head of the federal agency on supplies of armaments and military hardware and equipment, replacing him with Viktor Cherkesov, who earlier headed the drug enforcement agency.
Ex-president Putin became prime minister on May 8 after ceding presidential powers to his handpicked successor Medvedev, who won the March presidential elections.
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