Putin Names Former Cabinet Ministers to Kremlin Posts

Posted May 22nd, 2012 at 12:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has named seven former Cabinet ministers to Kremlin posts.

Mr. Putin issued a decree Tuesday bringing the allies into his administration, one day after he announced his new government.

The move is expected to shift the center of power to the Kremlin. Analysts say Mr. Putin may also use the appointments as a center of power separate from the government.

Former interior minister Rashid Nurgaliyev is among the new aides to Mr. Putin. He was named deputy to a key leader on Russia's security council – despite the fact that his term in government was marred by police violence, corruption and abuse.

Mr. Medvedev also appointed an ally of Mr. Putin as head of the state oil company Rosneft.

The appointment of Igor Sechin, who ran energy policy in Russia's last government, puts the finishing touches on the shape of Mr. Putin's new administration. Sechin has been viewed as the most influential man in Russia's energy sector.

In other news, Russia's lower house of parliament approved a bill Tuesday to dramatically increase fines for people violating rules governing public gatherings.

The bill raises fines for joining unsanctioned rallies from about $30 to at least $31,000.

Mr. Putin returned to the Kremlin earlier this month after swapping jobs with Mr. Medvedev. The job swap angered many Russians and sparked protests against the grip on power held by the two leaders.

Mr. Putin was elected to a third presidential term in March. He served as president from 2000 to 2008, but term limits prevented him from running for a third consecutive term. He then served as prime minister for four years 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.