Russia’s Putin shifts former ministers to Kremlin


Russian President Vladimir Putin named seven former cabinet ministers as aides on Tuesday, in a move expected to weaken Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s new government and shift power to the Kremlin.

Putin, in a decree issued a day after the government was formed, also confirmed loyal ally Sergei Ivanov as his chief of staff while Nikolai Patrushev stays on as secretary of the presidential Security Council.

One name missing from the list of appointments was that of Igor Sechin, Putin’s energy ‘tsar’ in the previous government, who had been expected to maintain control over the oil industry after Putin returned to the Kremlin, Reuters reports.

The appointments indicated Putin, who was inaugurated for a six-year presidential term on May 7 after four years as prime minister, may use his administration as a centre of power separate from the government headed by Medvedev.

Among the former ministers Putin brought to the Kremlin as aides are ex-Economy Minister Elvira Nabiullina, former Health Minister Tatyana Golikova, former Natural Resources Minister Yuri Trutnev and former Transport Minister Igor Levitin.

Putin named former Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, whose term was marred by police violence, corruption and abuse scandals, as a deputy to Patrushev at the Security Council, an influential advisory body.