Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 14:21:53
16 November 2018

  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.

Musical Chairs and Clones

by The Editors

Ministerial Musical Chairs

After his smooth reelection to a fourth term, President Vladimir Putin oversaw the appointment of a new cabinet. Only it looks less like a new government and more like a shuffling of the deck.

Of course, Dmitry Medvedev will continue to hold the reins as prime minister. And he will now have a record 10 deputy ministers to help him deliver on Putin’s promises. But, as Vedomostiwrote, the new cabinet “has not made the next six years of Putin appear any more revolutionary.”

Among the plethora of deputy ministers are many former deputy ministers who used to sit elsewhere. For example, Vitaly Mutko, who served as sports minister and curated sports as a deputy minister, has suddenly been assigned to the field of construction, while Olga Golodets, who curated social affairs, has now assumed Mutko’s former job.

“What does a plenitude of deputy ministers signify? It means it’s impossible to say who is responsible for what. Which is very convenient for bureaucrats.” 

– Forbes magazine

One “revolutionary” phenomenon in the cabinet is the appointment of Dmitry Patrushev, the son of the influential former FSB security services head (and old friend of Vladimir Putin), Nikolai Patrushev. As Dozhd said of his career shift, it is “the first time in modern history [of Russia] that a ministerial post is being given to the son of a top Russian official.” Only 40 and with a banking background, Patrushev will be in charge of Russian agriculture.

Send in the Clones

“There is a new release from the governor cloning factory,” wrote Dmitry Smirnov, a correspondent for Komsomolskaya Pravdaafter yet another young, bespectacled, clean-shaven, brown-haired man with a slightly receding hairline, Dmitry Artyukhov, was selected to lead the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District. 

 “Attack of the clones continues,” wrote the TJournalonline, remarking that Artyukhov is the fifth governor to fit the new type of “technocrat” that the Kremlin is turning to in order to inject fresh blood into the body politic.

Among other “clones” singled out by Russian media are Alexander Burkov (Omsk), Gleb Nikitin (Nizhny Novgorod), Dmitry Azarov (Samara), and Aysen Nikolayev (Yakutia). 

One blogger jokingly wrote that the governors can “unlock each other’s iPhones.”


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