May 23rd, 2012

New Russian cabinet merely a “rearrangement” of the old one

Putin meets with his cabinet

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his cabinet appointments earlier this week. Some Kremlin observers were hoping that a number of new faces would signal the chance for much-needed reform; instead, many of Putin’s closest key allies, the New York Times reports, are “poised to preserve their clout.”

The few new names are career bureaucrats with ties to Putin, and none of the opposition leaders who emerged in the last six months of demonstrations was tapped for a government post. According to Dmitri Trenin of the Carnegie Moscow Center:

This is not a new force that has arrived on the Russian political scene; this is a rearrangement of personnel to preserve the power exercised by the various clans. It is more clear than ever that much of the power will be transferred to the Kremlin, and the government [i.e., the Duma] will be a tool of the all-powerful Kremlin.

Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin added, “It is not a breakthrough government. I have serious doubts that it will be able to cope with all the challenges that face Russia today.” More on the Russian cabinet here.

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