Monday, September 24, 2007

Russian Cabinet Changes

Russian President Vladimir Putin made few changes to his cabinet on September 24, 2007.

Possibly the largest change was giving Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin the additional post of deputy prime minister.

The biggest casualty was Economy Minister German Gref (photo), who was one of three ministers who lost their posts. The others were Health and Social Affairs Minister Mikhail Zurabov and Regional Development Minister Vladimir Yakovlev.

Gref was replaced by his own deputy, 44-year-old Elvira Nabiulina. Tatyana Golikova, previously deputy finance minister, was given the health and social affairs portfolio.

First Deputy Prime Ministers Sergei Ivanov and Dmitry Medevedev -- named by analysts as possible successors to Putin when he steps down in 2008 -- retained their posts, as did deputy prime ministers Sergei Naryshkin and Alexander Zhukov.

Despite earlier speculation to the contrary, Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeev retained his position.

The cabinet changes were made after Putin sacked Mikhail Fradkov and named Zubkov, who headed Russia's fight against money laundering, as prime minister in his place.

As part of the changes, Putin brought Dmitry Kozak, a close ally who had been working in the presidential administration, into the government as the new regional development minister.

Putin kept Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov in his post, turning down the resignation he had submitted previously. Serdyukov had asked to leave the government on the grounds that the fact he is Zubkov's son-in-law was a potential conflict of interest.

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