News

Putin Re-Shuffles Cabinet; Analysts Look for Signs of Successor

Russian political analysts are abuzz, discussing President Putin's surprise shake-up of his cabinet and looking for clues as to who he may pick to groom as his successor before his second and final term ends in 2008.  VOA's Lisa McAdams in Moscow examines reaction to the changes, which include promotions for President Putin's chief of staff, Dmitry Medvedev and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov.

President Putin promoted two trusted allies to top cabinet posts this week in a move seen by political analysts as a possible start to what some in Moscow are calling "operation successor." 

During a cabinet meeting Monday, President Putin promoted his chief of staff, Dmitry Medvedev, to the post of first deputy prime minister, a position in which he will now be responsible for priority national projects that, if successful, could woo future voters.  As for Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, he was elevated to deputy prime minister and tasked with responsibility for Russia's security agencies.

Mr. Putin also appointed Tyumen Governor and Kremlin loyalist, Sergei Sobyanin, as his new chief of staff. 

Briefing journalists in Moscow mid-week about the changes, Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov said the new appointments will strengthen the Russian government in all respects.

Mr. Fradkov said in remarks broadcast on Russian television that the changes are aimed at forwarding deeper social and economic reforms, which some critics say have been stymied by Russian bureaucracy and inefficiency.

Political analyst Olga Kryshtanovskaya, of the Russian Academy of Sciences, says that in her view the changes are only designed to strengthen the Kremlin's hold on power.

Speaking on Russian Radio, Ms. Kryshtanovskaya said that is why it is necessary for President Putin to shake things up by switching people's seats and positions.  "Some will rise, while others will go," she said. But overall, she says, she doubts the next government will contain many new faces.

Ms. Kryshtanovskaya also notes that technocrat Prime Minister Fradkov kept his position this time around.  But she says she does not believe he will last forever.

Analyst Kryshtanovskaya says she feels Mr. Fradkov is simply holding the spot for someone still come, someone perhaps like Mr. Medvedev.

Still others, like analyst Nikolai Petrov of Moscow's Carnegie Center, say it is anyone's guess who President Putin will pick to run as his successor.

Mr. Petrov says the main thing that strikes him about this week's appointments is that they are "intermediate in nature." He also notes that the Russian president, who spent years working and ultimately heading the KGB, continues to practice politics in what he likens to a secret services operation.

Mr. Petrov adds that the changes were apparently so closely held that even those among the new appointments did not appear to know of their promotions nor, he points out, were there enough chairs to go around for the announcement ceremony, which was broadcast on Russian television.

The President of the Indem Foundation in Moscow, Georgy Satarov, told Russia's influential Kommersant newspaper this week that ambiguity is pure President Putin.  Mr. Satarov was also quoted as saying that he feels Operation Successor may prove to be the beginning of, what he called, Operation Evasive Action.

In other words, the analysts say the man ultimately picked to fill President Putin's shoes may be as big a surprise as when President Yeltsin pulled Mr. Putin out of relative obscurity, into the nation's highest office.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs