Russian President Vladimir Putin named seven former cabinet ministers as aides on Tuesday, in a move expected to weaken Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's new government and shift power to the Kremlin.
Putin, in a decree issued a day after the government was formed, also confirmed loyal ally Sergei Ivanov as his chief of staff while Nikolai Patrushev stays on as secretary of the presidential Security Council.
One name missing from the list of appointments was that of Igor Sechin, Putin's energy 'tsar' in the previous government, who had been expected to maintain control over the oil industry after Putin returned to the Kremlin, says Reuters.
Those appointed Kremlin advisors were former economy minister Elvira Nabiullina, former health minister Tatyana Golikova, ex-natural resources minister Yury Trutnev, former education minister Andrei Fursenko, ex-communications minister Igor Shchyogolev and former transport minister Igor Levitin. Ex-interior minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, who became a hate figure for the opposition for harsh crackdowns on protests and police abuses, was given the job of deputy head of the national security council.
Putin's election in March was preceded by months of protests on the streets of Moscow over the prospects of the former KGB spy extending his 12-year domination of Russia until at least 2018, according to The News International.
The new government includes two ministers which did not exist before, namely ministry for Far East development and open government contacts ministry.
Viktor Ishayev becomes the head of the Far East development ministry and presidential envoy to the Far East Federal District.Mikhail Abysov heads the open government contacts ministry. The open government project, proposed earlier by Medvedev, is aimed at bridging the gap between policy makers and the common people by offering better advices and valuable feedback.
Igor Shuvalov remains as first deputy prime minister, while Sergei Lavrov holds his position as foreign minister. Moscow police chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev was appointed as the new interior minister and Andrei Belousov was named as the new economic development minister.
"I would like to wish you and all our colleagues success. We will now be meeting with the new Cabinet," Putin told Medvedev during the formation meeting.
Putin said that the new government faces challenges of developing Russia in the uncertain global economic atmosphere. Though "a lot has been done in recent times," not all goals have been realized, and "still more remains to be done," the president said, informs China.org.cn.