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Russian government to be reshuffled

August 30, 2011, 12:35 UTC+3
A personnel reshuffling is in the offing for the Russian government, claims Nezavisimaya Gazeta
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MOSCOW, August 30 (Itar-Tass) —  State Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov confirmed on Monday an intention of United Russia to put some federal ministers at the top of party lists at the December elections. He did not preclude either that following this, the government composition would change.

A personnel reshuffling is in the offing  for the Russian government, claims Nezavisimaya Gazeta. Personnel changes will start with putting ministers on United Russia election lists. This idea was expressed on Monday by speaker of the lower house Boris Gryzlov. Independent experts believe that the first resignations – sacrifices of ministers – can be expected even at the end of the winter. In May a new president will form a qualitatively new government to be headed (very probable) by an official, free from electoral ambitions and capable of translating into life economic decisions, unpopular among people.

“Speaking of possible personnel reshuffling in the government, I do not preclude that the composition of federal ministers will change after the election campaigns,” the speaker said. At the same time, the EU site interprets more definitely ambivalent wordings by the speaker: “It is probable that putting ministers on the election lists of United Russia (UR) may launch personnel reshuffling  in the Russian government.”

It’s indicative that Putin virtually precluded quite recently a chance of changes in the government prior to the 2012 presidential elections, says Nezavisimaya Gazeta. Political scientists speak in the affirmative even now of the upcoming personnel renovation of the cabinet. According to their forecasts, personnel changes will be sweeping. “A reshuffling is possible in connection with a new election cycle,” believes president of the Politika Fund Vyacheslav Nikonov. In the president’s opinion, changes in the government composition can be made in two stages. The first stage – the elections to the State Duma. Ministers and vice-premiers who will be entrusted with heading party lists of United Russia in regions, may centre in future on work in the lower chamber of parliament, Nikonov affirms.

The second stage will set in late in spring-early in summer of the next year, that is after the presidential elections when a new head of state is preoccupied with forming a new cabinet. Nikonov refrained from forecasting who of the incumbent ministers would lose their portfolios. “It is premature to speak about specific names. This will be a wild guess,” he emphasised.

He is echoed by vice-president of the Centre of Political Technologies Alexei Makarkin. According to the expert, there is no in the government evident allergens for the electorate, as was Mikhail Zurabov in the pre-election year 2007. “The group of risk” can conditionally include Minister of Education and Science Andrei Fursenko and Minister of Health and Social Development Tatyana Golikova. It was difficult for Makarkin to say who of ministers will be the most suitable “sacrificial lamb” before the elections.

On the other hand, he is fully confident that the cabinet head will go. Incidentally, it will be irrespective of who of the tandem – Putin or Medvedev – will become president. A new president will need a premier, free from any “political or electoral ambitions”.

President of the Political Situation Centre Konstantin Simonov is sure that there will be no resignations or new appointments in the government before May 2012, since this “is not Putin’s style”.

It is hard to believe that ministers who will win the Duma elections, will voluntarily come to the State Duma, writes Novye Izvestia. It is also improbable  that even those who did not show good results, will be sent to such “an exile” by force. In the opinion of expert from the Centre of Political Technologies Rostislav Turovsky, a transfer to the State Duma will be an evident demotion for cabinet members even if their region shows a triumphant result for the ruling party. On the other hand, not a single minister can vouch for his seat at the government, the expert reckons.

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