Medvedev presents reshuffle plan to Putin
MOSCOW - Agence France- Presse
Russia's newly-inaugurated President Vladimir Putin (L) and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev meet in the Kremlin in Moscow, on May 15, 2012. AFP Photo
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev today presented nominations to newly-inaugurated President Vladimir Putin for a new Russian cabinet that will reportedly see the exit of two heavyweight ministers.
At a tightly-scripted televised meeting with Putin, Medvedev gave no clues over the composition of the new cabinet, merely presenting his successor as president with the papers containing the nominations.
Medvedev "presented Vladimir Putin with his suggestions on the structure and staffing of the government," the Kremlin said in a curt statement on its website.
"Let's not show the persons (on the list) so as not to stoke too much interest," a smiling Medvedev told Putin during the meeting.
However the Interfax news agency quoted an unidentified official source as saying that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov would likely keep their jobs.
Economy pointman Igor Shuvalov and former Kremlin ideologue Vladislav Surkov would also be keeping their hugely powerful jobs as deputy prime ministers, the source added.
But on the way out of the cabinet is likely to be Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, one of Putin's closest allies who for years has overseen the Russian energy sector and is expected to join the board of a state energy firm.
"Otherwise his presence in the cabinet would be an outright attack on Medvedev's policy" against the holding corporate posts by government officials, the source said.
Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, another key Putin loyalist, "will most likely not keep his post" after the recent scandal over police violence which has continued despite last year's reforms, the source added.
The future of Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, currently implementing a hugely controversial military reform, was "50-50", the source added.
Russian newspapers have also quoted sources as saying that the new cabinet is likely to include Medvedev's allies such the Kremlin economic advisor Arkady Dvorkovich.
However some analysts also predicted that a vast change would not be a good sign for the former president.
"If he succeeds (in replacing many people), most likely, that will mean that this government will not last long," Georgy Satarov of the Indem think tank told Kommersant radio.
"Putin would not care if he plans to change it relatively quickly," he said.
Medvedev served as president for four years but few believe that he has moved far beyond the shadow of his mentor Putin, who hand-picked him as successor when he neared the end of his second Kremlin term.
"Of course I will look at this draft," Putin told Medvedev as he took the papers Tuesday.
Putin took over the Russian presidency on May 7 and Medvedev was confirmed as prime minister one day later, completing a job swap announced back in September that had angered the opposition and stoked anti-Kremlin protests.
The cabinet may not be formally appointed until next week, after Putin said the process will keep him away from the G8 Summit on Friday and Saturday.
Putin's trip to Camp David, where leaders of the key world powers are meeting this year, was abruptly cancelled last week, with the Kremlin saying that Medvedev would travel in his place.
By law the president must sign the government structure into law after receiving it from the head of government, but the final inking has been a mere formality in the past as the list is agreed far ahead of time.
When Medvedev was settling in the Kremlin in 2008, he signed the list formally proposed by Putin on the spot, only five days after his inauguration.
Medvedev has previously said that Russia needs "completely new people" in the cabinet, while Putin cautioned against extreme changes, calling them "children's games".