Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced details of a cabinet reshuffle after the appointment of new Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov earlier this month. Experts have been awaiting the announcement, eager for signs of those likely to be in the race to succeed Putin at next year’s Presidential election.
Three ministers have been replaced – and two women are now in the cabinet for the first time.
The biggest casualty was Economy Minister German Gref, replaced by his deputy Elvira Nabiulina.
Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has been promoted to Deputy Prime Minister, a sign, so it is said, that his successful economic policy will continue.
Tatyana Golikova, the former deputy finance minister, has been given the health and social affairs portfolio.
First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev kept his job, as did fellow First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov – the pollsters’ favourite to succeed Putin in 2008.