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