Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov has become one of the mostnoticeable persons of the Russian political establishment. Today even themost persistent critics cannot but admit that Ivanov has managed to do alot of things. Although he probably has enough rivals, he is unlikely tohave real ill-wishers, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper reported. At thesame time his promotion has been expected for a long time. A year agoIvanov was predicted to replace Alexander Voloshin, head of thePresidential Administration. Such a possibility should not be ruled outcategorically, but it is unlikely to happen. A more real variant is hisappointment as the Prime Minster, taking into account his politicalexperience and the results of his work as the Defense Minister. Firstly, itwill enable the President to solve the 'problem of Kasyanov', the problemthat has been discussed a lot recently by the left and right-wingers.Secondly, this appointment could strengthen positions of the President andhis Petersburg team. And, at last, Ivanov's appointment as Prime Ministercould become the final step in defining the political ambitions of theauthorities. Certainly, it is possible in the event that Putin supportsthis idea. .
Several years ago, a prominent Indonesian businessman who now resides in Canada, insisted on meeting me in a back room of one of Jakarta's posh restaurants. An avid reader of mine, he 'had something urgent to tell me', after finding out that our paths were going to be crossing in this destroyed and hopelessly polluted Indonesian capital.