«The composition of the new Government is very balanced. There are quite a few people from the previous Executive, but we have made a strong renovation«, President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday afternoon at the presentation of the members of the new Cabinet. Indeed, a dozen new faces have appeared, however, the hard core, formed by the Ministers of Defense, Interior and Foreign Affairs, Sergey Shoigú, Sergey Lavrov and Vladimir Kolokotlsev, remains. The longest of the three in his ministry is Lavrov, who has been in office since March 2004.
Despite the “strong renewal” of which Putin speaks, at the head of the key ministries practically the same names continue. It gives, therefore, the feeling that the reason for the remodeling last week by the head of the Kremlin after delivering his annual speech on the State of the Nation was mainly to get rid of Dmitri Medvedev, his great man of confidence for years, to replace it with Mikhail Mishustin, the former head of the Federal Tax Service (FNS) and now the new chief of the Executive.
Mishustin presented to Putin the ministerial list on Tuesday and there must have been some last-minute change, as it was announced somewhat later than the Russian media had predicted. Mishustin’s Cabinet will have nine deputy prime ministers, instead of the ten that the previous government had. The first deputy prime minister is now Andrei Beloussov, one of the new faces, who comes from the Kremlin Administration and was Putin’s adviser on economic matters. He will pilot the entire economic area in the Mishustin Executive.
Almost all the ministers responsible for the social area had to leave their posts. Former Deputy Minister of Finance, Anton Kotiakov, will now head the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, replacing Maxim Topilin, Mikhail Murashko of Health, which displaces Verónika Skvortsova, Valeri Falkov, until now rector of the Tyumen State University ( Siberia), will be in charge of Science and Universities. The Ministers of Culture and Sports also changed. In the first, instead of very criticized Vladimir Medinski will be the head of the cinematography department of that same ministry, Olga Liubímova, and, in Sports, Pavel Kolobkov, dotted with doping scandals, gives way to the president of the University Federation of Physical Education, Oleg Matitsin.
Maxim Reshétnikov, the former governor of the Perm region, is now the head of the Economy, a portfolio previously held by Maxim Oreshkin, Maksut Shadáyev, who comes from Rostelekom, the principal russian internet provider, cable television and telephony, will be in charge of Telecommunications. In Education Sergey Kravtsov has been appointed, who comes from the Rosobrnadzor, the educational inspection, and displaces Olga Vasíleva, in Justice, Konstantín Chuichenko, instead of Alexánder Konoválov.
The deputy prime ministers, even without determining exactly their areas of competence, are Dmitri Grigorenko, who will probably take over the government apparatus and was the right hand Mishustin, Victoria Abrámchenko, former head of the Rosreestr (Cadastral Service), Alexéi Overchuk, also from the FNS, Marat Jusnullin, vice mayor of Moscow in the area of public works, and Dmitri Chernishenko.
They maintain their positions as Deputy Prime Ministers Tatiana Gólikova, Yuri Borísov and Yuri Trútnev as well as the Ministers of Industry and Commerce, Denís Mantúrov, Energy, Alexánder Nóvak, Finance, Antón Siluánov, Natural Resources and Ecology, Dmitri Kobílkin, Development of the Far East and the Arctic, Alexánder Kozlov, Civil Protection, Evgueni Zínichev, Agriculture, Dmitri Pátrushev, and Transportation, Evgueni Ditrij.