World News

Putin favours status quo with new government lineup

Key Points
  • The Russian president stuck in most cases with the incumbents but elevated two newcomers with ties to the intelligence services.
President-elect Vladimir Putin ahead of being sworn-in as President of Russia at St Andrew's Hall of the Moscow Kremlin.
Mikhail Metzel | TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin endorsed a new government line-up on Friday at the start of his new term in office, sticking in most cases with the incumbents but elevating two newcomers with ties to the intelligence services.

Dmitry Medvedev, whom Putin had already reappointed as prime minister, proposed the new cabinet at a meeting with Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi that was broadcast live on Russian state television.

"Almost all the candidates are well-known people with experience and a good track record at their previous places of work," Putin said.

"I give my approval," he said.

The big-hitters in Putin's team kept their jobs: Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, and Alexander Novak, the country's energy minister who helped mastermind a global deal to prop up crude oil prices.

Maxim Oreshkin, appointed economy minister in late 2016, will retain his job, as will trade and industry minister Denis Manturov, and Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov.

Medvedev named Yevgeny Zinichev, who served as Deputy Director of Federal Security Service (FSB), as the new emergency minister.

Medvedev put forward the son of FSB chief Nikolai Patrushev, Dmitry, for the job of agriculture minister.

There were no places in the cabinet for Igor Shuvalov and Arkady Dvorkovich, who were deputy prime ministers in the outgoing government. They had positioned themselves as champions of private business, though with limited practical effect.

The currency market reacted negatively to the appointments in the minutes after the lineup was unveiled.

The rouble pared gains and weakened to 62.19 versus the dollar from levels of 62.08 seen before the announcement.

Putin secured a new six-year term in office after more than 70 percent of voters backed him in a March 18 presidential election. He is now in his second consecutive term, and his fourth term overall.

Putin was sworn in for the new term in early May, and signaled he would keep faith with a policy direction that, among other things, has brought Russia into conflict with the West.