Anton Vaino, a former diplomat, has replaced long time member of Putin's inner circle Sergei Ivanov, as chief of staff. A statement from the Kremlin said that Putin had "decreed to relieve Ivanov of his duties" but gave no reason.
|However, at a meeting both Putin and Ivanov claim that he was stepping down at his own request. This does not prevent headlines appearing such as the BBC that says " Russia's Putin sacks chief of staff Sergei Ivanov". Ivanov was appointed Putin's special representative for the environment and transportation. He will also retain his seat on the Security Council a consultative group of military and intelligence chiefs that provides advice to president Putin.|
But despite the smiles for the cameras, few here are convinced - especially now, just before parliamentary elections. So is this the fall-out from some kind of power struggle? No-one knows yet. But the official claim - that a man once touted as a potential president, suddenly wanted to run Russia's environmental policy - has been met with great scepticism.Notice that no specific or identifiable figures are cited as skeptics. While the official explanation could indeed be a cover up for some disagreement obviously there is not much in the way even of rumors suggesting what might be the real reason behind the action. What could be mystifying is that an official explanation may be basically correct.