Vladimir Putin's chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, got a new, much less high profile job in the Russian cabinet on Friday, a move that some experts say is not entirely surprising but which is sparking speculation about what's going on behind Kremlin walls.
Ivanov, once thought of as a possible successor to the president, had served as Putin's right hand man for more than four years, and according to statements out of the Kremlin, Ivanov requested that he be moved out of the important post.
Vladimir Frolov, foreign affairs columnist for Russian magazine Slon and contributor to the Moscow Times, told CNBC that Ivanov's replacement, Anton Vaino, was tapped by Putin because he had no ambitions of his own and isn't close with any of the country's politically powerful oligarchs. Vaino was deputy head of Kremlin administration.
"This guy is a quiet, efficient bureaucrat with no political agenda of his own and equidistant from all oligarchic clans," according to Frolov. Vaino is "here to implement Putin's decisions, not to provide counsel for policy making."
Frolov also mentioned that Vaino has little political clout outside of his access to the Russian leader.
Other Russian sources who spoke to CNBC but who asked not be named said the shakeup is typical for Putin, who is accustomed to re-shuffling his cabinet prior to parliamentary elections, which are set to take place in September.