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MOSCOW, May 23 (Itar-Tass World Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday appointed to posts in the presidential administration his former government officials. Almost all ministers that were not included in the new government were given chairs in the presidential administration. Most of them formed the group of aides to the president - it will be one of the centres of influence in the Kremlin. Experts speak about doubling the presidential control over the activities of the government, because the Kremlin has actually created a parallel government.
The RF head of state, when he had to think about the formation of the team of aides, chose the people with whom he has worked for the past four years in the government, Rossiyskaya Gazeta writes. Mostly former ministers of his government will help Putin in his work. Former Health Minister Tatyana Golikova, ex-Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina, ex-Minister of Natural Resources Yuri Trutnev, ex-Education and Science Minister Andrei Fursenko and the ex-Minister of Communications Igor Shchegolev have become aides to the president. Yuri Ushakov who was earlier deputy chief of the government staff, has also been appointed presidential aide. Given his long diplomatic experience, including nearly 10 years as Ambassador to the United States, it is safe to say that he will be responsible for international relations.
Head of the International Institute for Political Expertise Evgeny Minchenko, quoted by Kommersant, says that the functions of the former ministers, given posts in the presidential administration, and their deputies, who have taken their posts have been divided: “The strategy will be worked out in the administration, and the government – will implement it trough presidential aides that are in charge of ministries.” Vice President of the Centre for Political Technologies Alexei Makarkin also believes that the ex-ministers “will exert political influence” on their successors, and the latter, in turn, “will have direct access to the head of state.” Thus, the expert believes, Vladimir Putin has managed to establish a dual control of the government: on the one hand – “through his direct prot·g·s” (Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Finance), on the other hand - indirectly, through the ex-ministers who left for the presidential administration, but maintain influence in their departments. “But if we abstract from this idyll, the system becomes quite complicated. It is not clear how decisions will be made and who will be responsible for them - retired ministers or their successors,” the expert said.
The Duma opposition saw in Tuesday’s appointments a simple shift of the decision making centre to the Kremlin, Nezavisimaya Gazeta points out. Communist Party (CPRF) leader Gennady Zyuganov is certain: “It is there where the real government will be working, and the new Cabinet will be a backup for the Kremlin.” Experts hold to similar views. Expert of the Institute of Contemporary Development Boris Makarenko is not inclined to attach much importance to the names of Putin’s aides and advisers: “One can only wonder: will the old ministers, as more experienced, try to command the new ones? Or they will just give advice?” According to the expert, another bureaucratic configuration has appeared in the country, and it is already clear that “in actual fact, there has been no personnel renewal.”
The influence of the presidential administration on the government will be considerably increased: it is important for Putin to make sure that the new prime minister does not make any sudden moves, Vedomosti suggests. Taking into account the way the government has been formed, it is the ex-ministers and presidential aides who will now be engaged in the real serious work, believes Pavel Kudyukin, an associate professor in public administration: these posts are not a consolation prize for retirees, but a promotion in some way.