President Putin’s fourth (and final, as per current constitution) term commenced on May 7. Popular expectations of announcement of radical economic reform measures were dampened by the issue of a somewhat anodyne Presidential Executive Order on “National Goals and Strategic Objectives for the period to 2024”, which spelt out the socioeconomic goals for the country. More importantly, the new Cabinet of the re-appointed Prime Minister Medvedev did not hold out much promise of radical change. Most Ministers from the earlier Cabinet were retained, “radical” economic reform advocates like Alexei Kudrin were not included and even those dropped were accommodated in positions (albeit less powerful than before) that ensured continued access to perks of office. There has been robust criticism, even in the mainstream Russian media, about the absence of a reform message in the composition of the new Cabinet.

The most significant Cabinet change from India’s perspective was the removal of Dmitry Rogozin from the position of Deputy Prime Minister. As Deputy Chairman of the Military-Technical Commission (President Putin is the Chairman) overseeing Russia’s military-industrial complex and all foreign defence cooperation, Mr Rogozin was the Russian point person for all cooperation with India (in recognition of the primacy of defence in this cooperation). He co-chaired the Inter-Governmental Commission for Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation with the External Affairs Minister and liaised with the Indian Defence Minister and National Security Advisor on all issues of defence and strategic cooperation. Rogozin has now been appointed head of the Russian space agency (one of the many agencies and corporations that had been under his charge as Deputy PM.)

 

 May 30, 2018

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About the Author

Ambassador PS Raghavan

Former Ambassador of India to Russia; Convener, National Security Advisory Board

Born in 1955, Ambassador Raghavan holds a B.Sc. (Honours) degree in Physics and a B.E. in Electronics & Communications Engineering. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1979. From 1979 to 2000, he had diplomatic assignments in USSR, Poland, United Kingdom, Vietnam and South Africa, interspersed with assignments in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi. From 2000 to 2004, he was Joint Secretary in the Indian Prime Minister's Office dealing with Foreign Affairs, Nuclear Energy, Space, Defence and National Security. Thereafter, he was Ambassador of India to Czech Republic (2004 - 2007) and to Ireland (2007 - 2011).

He was Chief Coordinator of the BRICS Summit in New Delhi (March 2012) and Special Envoy of the Government of India to Sudan and South Sudan (2012-13). Ambassador Raghavan conceptualized and piloted the creation of the Development Partnership Administration (DPA) in MEA, which implements and monitors India’s economic partnership programs in developing countries, with an annual budget of $1-1.5 billion. He headed DPA in 2012-13. From March 2013 to January 2014, he oversaw the functioning of the Administration, Security, Information Technology and other related Divisions of MEA. Since October 2013, he was also Secretary [Economic Relations] in MEA, steering India’s bilateral and multilateral external economic engagement. Ambassador Raghavan retired from the Indian Foreign Service in January 2016, after serving from 2014 as Ambassador of India to Russia. Since September 2016, he is Convenor of the National Security Advisory Board of the Government of India.

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