22 May 2012President Vladimir Putin put his stamp on a new government yesterday that kept his most trusted allies in charge of finance while leaving tested veterans at the helm of foreign affairs and defense.
Putin, who won a third term in Marchís election, said the new Cabinet led by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev should continue the course set in previous years.ďThe situation in the global economy is unclear; there are quite a lot of factors that make it opaque,Ē Putin said in televised remarks to the new Cabinet. ďYou will have to fulfill a program of Russiaís development in these conditions.Ē Many key members of the old Cabinet have retained their seats, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has clung to his seat despite a controversy over his investments and wealth.
Vladislav Surkov, the architect of Putinís domestic policies who was transferred to the Cabinet last fall, also has retained the position of a deputy prime minister. Igor Sechin, Putinís longtime aide who oversaw the oil and gas sector as a deputy prime minister, has lost his seat but is widely expected to retain his influence and continue overseeing top energy projects from behind the scenes.
Some of the most unpopular ministers, including those who were in charge of health, education, and interior affairs, have left the Cabinet. Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, who has faced massive public criticism over widespread incidents of torture and other abuses by police, has been replaced by Moscow police chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev.