Vladimir Putin on Monday unveiled a new Cabinet two weeks after he returned to the Russian Presidency.
Putin retained his key ally Igor Ivanovich Shuvalov, the First Deputy Prime Minister in the outgoing government.
Departing from the past, Putin did not name any other First Deputy Prime Ministers, consolidating the 45-year-old experienced politician's position as the Russian government's Number 2.
There are seven Deputy Prime Ministers in the new Cabinet -- Vladislav Surkov, Dmitry Kozak, Dmitry Rogozin, Arkady Dvorkovich, Alexander Khloponin and Olga Golodets.
"This government is officially (Prime Minister Dmitry) Medvedev's, but in reality it is Putin's," Russia's RIA Novosti news agency quoted analyst Lilia Shevtsova of the Carnegie Moscow Center think-tank as saying.
Just before he vacated the Prime Minister's office, Putin had appointed another close ally and his deputy Igor Sechin to the board of the main state energy holding company.
Moscow police chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev is the new Russian Interior Minister.
There is no change at the head of three key portfolios: Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov stayed on.
State-run ITAR TASS quoted Putin as saying that at a meeting on Monday, Medvedev "introduced his candidates for the posts of Ministers and his vision on the structure of the government." Putin said he signed the decrees on the structure and makeup of the government after consultations with each candidate.
Three fourths of the Minsters are reportedly new faces.
Putin proposed Medvedev for the post of Prime Minister hours after he was sworn in as President for the third term on May 7.
Medvedev, who stepped down as President after four years in office, is set to take over from Putin as party chief next month.
After holding the Presidency for two consecutive terms from 2000 to 2008, Putin proposed his protege Medvedev as his successor for the 2008 presidential elections, since the country's Constitution does not allow a President running for a third consecutive term. In return, Medvedev nominated Putin as his Prime Minister.
Putin skipped the current NATO summit in Chicago citing Cabinet formation.
The Chicago summit made it clear that NATO missile defense is not oriented against Russia nor does it have the capability to undermine Russia's strategic deterrent, but Moscow has shown no public signs of softening its opposition to the missile system, insisting that it will destabilize eastern Europe and trigger a new arms race.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org