Putin Ally Retains Role as New Gov’t. Appointed
A key ally of President Vladimir Putin retained his post as the Russian government's number 2 on Monday, raising question marks over the role of new Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, RIA Novosti reported.
"The First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation is Igor Ivanovich Shuvalov," Putin said.
Shuvalov, 45, was named first deputy prime minister in the new government, formed two weeks after Putin's inauguration as president for a third term. No other deputy prime ministers were named, a departure from previous cabinets.
His reappointment signals that Russia plans to continue the economic policies pursued during Putin's 2008-2012 stint as prime minister.
Another close Putin ally, Igor Sechin, loses his post as deputy prime minister, but maintains influence over energy policy after Putin nominated him to the board of the main state energy holding company on his last day as prime minister.
In one other key change, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev was replaced by Moscow police chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev. Nurgaliyev, who had been in the post since 2003, had come under criticism over a number of scandals involving Russia's police force.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov retained his post, as did Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. Anton Sulyanov stayed on as finance minister.
Seven other deputy prime ministers were named. They are Vladislav Surkov, Anton Kozak, Dmitry Rogozin, Arkady Dvorkovich, Alexander Khloponin, and Olga Golodets.
Putin cited considerations over the forming of Russia's new government as the reason for his decision to skip the May 20-21 NATO summit in Chicago.