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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Russian President Putin replaces long-time chief of staff

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.
A meeting between Putin and Ivanov showed no disagreements between the two. Putin said: “We have worked for many years together with great success. I understand your wish to take on work in other areas. I very much hope that you use your knowledge and experience for effective work in your new role." Ivanov thanked Putin for the high assessment of his work of 17 years. Ivanov is said to have recommended his deputy since 2012, Anton Vaino as his successor.
Vaino was born in Estonia in 1972. On being appointed Vaino said to Putin: "Thank you for your trust. I think the administration's most important task is to support your activity as head of state in terms of drafting laws and control over how your instructions are implemented." The BBC speculates on the move that it claims mystifies Moscow: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.
A Bloomberg article also suggests that Ivanov was dismissed giving as a reason that Putin is replacing long time allies with younger blood with Vaino just 44 while Ivanov was 63. However, 63 is hardly that old for a politician. Igor Bunin, director of the Moscow-based Center for Political Technologies said by phone: “Putin is czar so he needs a team of younger people that are 100 percent his, that haven’t had any authority in their lives other than him. Ivanov knows not only Putin but knew Leonid Brezhnev as well and is a broad-minded person. And this created some discomfort for Putin.” Nevertheless, Vaino has had authority and as a deputy of Ivanov.
Putin has dismissed several long-time allies lately including Vladimir Yakunin 68 who headed Russian Railways for a decade, and Vladimir Dmitriev 62, who oversaw the indebted state development bank, Vnesheconobank. In both cases he installed younger managers who are technocrats, but loyal to him, in order to help improve the performance of the companies during a long recession.

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