Putin Unveils New Russian Government

Posted May 21st, 2012 at 9:55 am (UTC-5)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced his new government, keeping many of the Cabinet ministers who served former president Dmitry Medvedev.

Igor Shuvalov, a close Putin ally, kept his post as first deputy prime minister in overall charge of economic policy, and Anton Siluanov, a career civil servant, remained as finance minister.

Anatoly Serdyukov stayed on as defense minister, while Sergei Lavrov kept his post as foreign minister.

One significant change was the appointment of Arkady Dvorkovich, who favors privatization, as first deputy prime minister in charge of energy and industrial policy. Dvorkovich was an advisor to Mr. Medvedev.

Mr. Medvedev, named prime minister after Mr. Putin returned to the Kremlin earlier this month, has pledged to launch pro-growth policies and a privatization drive to boost Russia's weak economy.

Mr. Medvedev swapped jobs with Mr. Putin, who until his May 7 inauguration was prime minister for four years. The job swap angered many Russians and sparked protests against the men's grip on power.

Mr. Putin was elected to a third presidential term in March with 64 percent of the vote. He served as president from 2000 to 2008, but term limits prevented him from running for a third consecutive term. He then became prime minister under Mr. Medvedev.

A constitutional amendment has extended the president's time in office to two consecutive six-year terms, meaning Mr. Putin could stay in power until 2024 — an outlook many Russians find unsettling.