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Prime Minister Medvedev distributes duties among his deputies

May 25, 2012, 17:18 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila

MOSCOW, May 25 (Itar-Tass) — Distribution of duties among Deputy Prime Ministers in the new Russian government looks quite logical and fits into a well-arranged pattern, say analysts. They add, however, that it may undergo changes in the future.

Dmitry Medvedev, the head of Russia’s new cabinet, formed the government presidium at a cabinet meeting Thursday. Also, he distributed the duties among his deputies.

First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, who occupied the same position in the previous government, has received the biggest scope of powers and duties. It embraces the elaboration of social and economic strategies, the steering of an integral financial and lending policy, the management of sovereign debts, the drafting and accomplishing of state budget targets, foreign trade and relations with the World Trade Organization, the regulating of financial markets, insurance companies and auditing organizations, the supervision of state investment policies, investment projects effectuated by the Russian development bank VEB, technological regulating, state properties management, support for small business, development of competition, the conduct of tariff/migration/ housing policies, antitrust policies and international relations.

Shuvalov will also oversee a range of special projects, including the ramification and upgrading of the Moscow airport hub, preparations for the 2018 World Cup football competition, development of Far-Eastern regions. This means he will have the powers to supervise and steer the activity of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the Finance Ministry, and the Ministry of Far East Territorial Development.

Arkady Dvorkovich, who had the duties of a presidential advisor on the economy in Dmitry Medvedev’s administration, will supervise the real sector now. The sphere of his occupational competence embraces all the manufacturing industries except defense manufacturing, as well as agriculture, power engineering, transport, telecommunications, and all the problems encompassed by the operations of the Ministry of Natural Resources, including the utilization of mineral wealth.

Dmitry Rogozin, Dmitry Kozak and Alexander Khloponin, the three Deputy Prime Ministers who had seats on the previous cabinet, too, have gotten roughly the same powers. Rogozin will take charge of the defense manufacturing sector and operations of the Ministry for Emergency Situations and Civil Defense /EMERCOM/.

 

Dmitry Kozak will oversee the preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, activities of the construction industry, as well as the housing and public utilities sector.

Alexander Khloponin will oversee the situation in North Caucasus.

The social bloc has been entrusted to Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets. She is expected to supervise education, science, and youth policies.

Experts indicate that Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov, a man with a big record of work in the Kremlin and in the Presidential Administration, may gain weighty political influence, given the new powers and duties he has received upon the transfer to the government. Surkov combines the functions of the chief of government staff, the supervisor or mass media, and the conductor of the administrative reform. In addition, he is the overseer of the justice system, collaboration with the courts and prosecution agencies, and the promotion of state policies in the field of innovations.

 

Political scientist Andrei Kynev believes the aforementioned scope of powers means Surkov will retain his personal influence on internal policies. “It turns out the man will control from now on the information policies and the Justice Ministry, which means registration of political parties,” The Moscow News gazette quoted him as saying.

The occupational powers of the six Deputy Prime Ministers are quite obviously split into three blocks in the new pattern of the government. The blocks are the economic, social and defense ones.

Unlike in previous years, this pattern has again acquired some degree of shapeliness, analysts say. Igor Shuvalov has been positioned as Dmitry Medvedev’s substitute if the latter man is away from Moscow. Arkady Dvorkovich may stand in for Surkov if the latter is on vacation, but Surkov will not stand in for Drovkovich. In all other respects, the Deputy Prime Ministers are split into mutually replaceable pairs – Igor Shuvalov and

Arkady Dvorkovich, Olga Golodets and Dmitry Kozak, Dmitry Rogozin and Alexander Khloponin.

The distribution of duties among the Deputy Prime Ministers looks logical, experts say. “The overall logic has been maintained with due account of the interests of separate individuals and that is why it is difficult to call this distribution unexpected,” Gazeta.ru portal quotes Vladimir Yuzhanov, a superintendant of the administrative reform project at the Center for Strategic Projections.

“Contentions might appear between Shuvalov and Dvorkovich, since their zones of responsibility overlapped at various levels of power-wielding, but a compromise solution was found eventually,” Yuzhanov said.

“The old guard has kept to itself what it used to own, while the newcomers have received what has been left over to them,” said Igor Nikolayev, director of a strategic analysis department. “That’s why Dvorkovich who was responsible for the economic policy issues at the Presidential Administration might perfectly well supervise the economic policies but will preside over the real sector.”

“This may look somewhat illogical but Shuvalov has supervised the economy in the past, and Dvorkovich has thus received what has been left unoccupied. Then there is Kozak, a deputy premier in charge of sports, but responsibility for hosting the World Cup games in 2018 is vested in Shuvalov because he presented Russia’s bid for it. The very same Kozak oversees the regional affairs but the Far East has been given to Shuvalov once again.”

Yevgeny Minchenko, the President of the International Institute for Political Expert Studies said this layout of posts in the government does not seem to be conclusive. He told the Vedomosti daily several Deputy Prime Ministers apparently have excessive powers and duties, and hence there is a redistribution of duties many begin soon.

Minchenko points out a precedent with the previous government, for instance, saying that the scope of powers and duties of Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov evidenced a gradual shrinkage.

Kirill Tanayev, the Director General of the Efficacious Policy Fund told The Moscow News that the real administrative weight of the officials will depend on the degree, to which their powers are implemented.

“Formally, you may have any type of powers but you may turn out unable to use them – something that happens in Russia’s everyday reality here and there, Tanayev said.