Russian Prime Minister Medvedev, Kremlin Chief of Staff Ivanov, And Russian President Putin. AFP
Fiona Clark, DW: Putin shakes things up in the Kremlin
On the 25th anniversary of the 1991 coup, Fiona Clark takes a look at what might be prompting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s shuffling of positions within the Kremlin walls.
Over the past few months Putin has been shaking things up a bit inside the Kremlin walls. But the question is, why? The most recent and high profile movement is the demotion of his long-time friend and ally, Sergei Ivanov, from his position as chief of Putin's administration.
Ivanov has been at the president's side since their days in the KGB in the 1970's. When Putin was running the KGB's successor, the FSB, Ivanov was his deputy and he took over from Putin when he moved into politics. He soon followed his leader to the Kremlin when Putin appointed him as defense minister and later deputy prime minister, and just over four years ago he stepped in to head up the administration. In terms of Kremlin hierarchy, he was said to be number 3. Now, as he moves to take up the role of "special presidential representative for environmental protection, ecology and transport" you'd be lucky to find a ticket with enough numbers on it to describe where he sits in the power pyramid.
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WNU Editor: My own personal opinions and observations on what I saw and experienced in Russia last week will be posted more extensively tomorrow or Wednesday (I am suffering from jet lag at the moment, and yes .... I am also very tired). I can say that there is a great deal of turmoil and change now happening in the country .... and while everyone is working and making money, there is a sense that things should be far better than what they are. There is also growing resentment on government corruption, as well as how the elites are using the system to enrich themselves while flaunting their wealth at the same time (I saw such flaunting a few times last week .... even among my own family .... and this pissed me off to no end). And while there is no real opposition to Putin right now .... what is happening on the local and regional levels tells me that Putin's days are numbered, and that after the next Presidential election many will start to position themselves to take-over when Putin finally retires from public office.
As for Sergei Ivanov's demotion .... I expected some big policy disagreement or Kremlin intrigue that had him demoted. I can say that such was not the case. He lost his son a year and a half ago in a drowning accident .... this devastated his wife and family, and for a man who has worked 100 hours per week for years (if not decades) .... he now wants to take a break.
More tomorrow (or Wednesday).