New Russian PM to shake up government
( AFP ) - The Russian government is set to undergo a radical pre-election shakeup under newly appointed Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, leading Russian daily Vedomosti reported Monday.
Among the likely changes under Zubkov, named by President Vladimir Putin in a surprise move last week, will be the departure of first deputy prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, considered a possible successor to Putin, Vedomosti quoted business and government sources as saying.
Medvedev may become CEO of state gas monopoly Gazprom -- he currently chairs its board of directors -- while the industry and energy minister, Viktor Khristenko, may become CEO of state oil giant Rosneft, Vedomosti said.
Other likely departures from the government, which resigned on Wednesday, include Health Minister Mikhail Zurabov, Culture Minister Alexander Sokolov, and regional development minister Vladimir Yakovlev.
Putin's dismissal of the government and appointment of Zubkov as prime minister precedes December parliamentary elections, and has fuelled intrigue over whom the Russian president will endorse as his successor ahead of March presidential elections.