UK & World News
Putin's New Cabinet Dampens Hopes For Reform
The appointment of Russia's new government was a chance to show whether Vladimir Putin would choose the path of reform or maintain the status quo - and the result has left the opposition movement with little sign of the former.
The cabinet appointments cement Mr Putin's already iron grip on power.
Promotions and retained seats are the main ingredients of the reshuffle: most ministers either held on to their seats or were elevated from deputy positions.
Key positions such as the heads of the defence and interior ministries remained in the hands of his staunch allies.
Although nearly three-quarters of the old government has been replaced, many of the appointees are seen as Putin loyalists, unlikely to blaze a trail to reform.
Some who lost their cabinet jobs have quickly been appeased with roles in Mr Putin's administration.
Ex-interior minister Rashid Nurgaliyev has been made an under-secretary of the presidential Security Council - several other former ministers have become presidential advisers.
Mr Nurgaliyev has faced massive public criticism over widespread incidents of torture and abuse by police.
The appointments will bolster the view that Mr Putin isn't willing to offer the opposition movement any concessions and that his priority remains the preservation of his inner circle.
His fellow former KGB agents, Sergei Ivanov and Nikolai Patrushev, have been reappointed Kremlin chief of staff and head of the presidential Security Council respectively.
Several officials who served in Dmitry Medvedev's administration during his presidency followed him to the cabinet, while Mr Putin retained some of those who served under served under him as prime minister like his spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov.
Signing off the new cabinet Mr Putin told his appointees: "The situation in which the world's economy finds itself is an uncertain one, with many unknown factors.
"It is in these conditions you will have to carry out the programme for Russia's development."
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