By Anna Nadibaidze
President Putin met with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday to discuss the structure of the new government. While the full list of Ministers is yet to be revealed, Medvedev announced the candidates for the Deputy Prime Minister posts last week. Many officials have left, some have shifted positions, while others have been replaced by new faces. We’ve compiled a short primer on each of the ten Deputy PMs slated to form part of the new government.
1. First Deputy Chairman, Finance & Economy: Anton Siluanov (replacing Igor Shuvalov)
Look out for his profile in the brief!
2. Social Affairs: Tatiana Golikova (replaces Olga Golodets)
Tatiana Golikova comes from Moscow and graduated from the Plekhanov Institute of the National Economy, specializing in labor economics. She was responsible for the state budget at the Finance Ministry in the 1990s and was Deputy Finance Minister from 1999 to 2007. She served as Minister of Health and Social Development under Medvedev, carrying out unpopular health reforms. Since 2013 Golikova has headed the Audit Chamber. She has a reputation of being tight fisted when it comes to budget issues, and experts suggest that her appointment will mean a strict control of the social sphere expenses. Known as the Budget Queen for her professionalism and Legally Blonde for her looks, Golikova also collects dolls and bears, and enjoys exercising and reading. Experts note that Putin trusts her and always reads her budget reports.
For more on Golikova, check out our feature on her from February.
3. Head of Government Administration: Konstantin Chuychenko (replacing Sergei Prikhodko)
Konstantin Chuychenko and Medvedev studied law together in St. Petersburg and have known each other for decades. Chuychenko began his career in the Prosecutor’s office in St. Petersburg, followed by a stint in the KGB between 1989 and 1992. He became head of Gazprom’s legal department in 2001 while Medvedev was Chairman of the company’s board of directors. Chuychenko served as Medvedev’s presidential aide and headed the Presidential Control Department, a post he kept even after Putin returned to the presidency. Some have interpreted this new position as a personal appointment by Medvedev, who likes to keep his old friends close.
4. Agriculture: Alexey Gordeyev (replacing Arkady Dvorkovich)
Alexey Gordeyev was born in the German Democratic Republic, but went to school in Magadan. While serving in the army between 1978 and 1980 he helped build the Baikal-Amur Mainline railway, and graduated from the Moscow Institute of Railway Engineering, beginning his career as a communications engineer. He later studied at the Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, and holds a PhD in Economics. Starting in 1998, Gordeyev served as First Deputy Minister and then Minister of Agriculture until 2009, during which time he promoted Russian agricultural products, participated in setting up the Russian Agricultural Bank and introduced quotas on meat imports. From 2009 to 2017 he served as Governor of the Voronezh Oblast, and in 2017 was appointed Envoy to the Central Federal District. In his new role, he is expected to focus on increasing food exports and creating a united veterinary service in Russia. Gordeyev’s wife is involved in agricultural business, and they have two children who both graduated from the MSU’s law faculty.
5. Industry & Energy: Dmitry Kozak (replacing Arkady Dvorkovich)
Dmitry Kozak comes from the so called ‘St. Petersburg lawyers,’ a group of officials who used to work in the city’s local government and cut their teeth with Putin in the 1990’s. Kozak worked in the military’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) around the time when Putin joined the KGB, and studied law at Leningrad State University in the 1980s. He moved to the presidential administration to become its Deputy Head and later became the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Southern Federal District (including Sochi) from 2004 to 2007. Some thought he would succeed Putin in 2008, but instead became Deputy PM, overseeing regional infrastructure, the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, as well as the construction of various projects in Crimea and Kaliningrad. He is described as a skilled technocrat who can work effectively behind the scenes. His constant smile has earned him the nickname Cheshire Cat, but he’s also known for punishing officials who disrespect his deadlines.
6. Culture & Sport: Olga Golodets (replacing Vitaly Mutko)
Olga Golodets has been Deputy PM in charge of social affairs since 2012, and also has some experience in the realm of cultural affairs. She graduated from the MSU with an economics degree, and from 1999 to 2008 assisted businessman Mikhail Prokhorov as Director of HR at Norilsk Nickel. She later chaired the board of Soglasiye Insurance Company, also owned by Prokhorov. From 2010 to 2012 she was Deputy Mayor for Education and Healthcare in Moscow, and since 2012 has worked in the federal government, directing policy related to healthcare and social development. She has lobbied MinFin to increase spending for social affairs for many years. Fun fact! Her uncle Adamas Golodets played in and trained Moscow’s Dinamo football club.
7. Construction & Housing: Vitaly Mutko (replacing Dmitry Kozak)
Vitaly Mutko graduated as an engineer from the River Vocational College, the Leningrad Water Transport Institute and began his career as a boat technician. He also holds a PhD in Economics, where he wrote a thesis on regulation in physical education and sport. From 1992 to 1996 he served as both the Deputy to St Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak and the chair for the city’s Committee on Social Issues. He later presided over the Zenit Football Club, and from 2001 to 2003 was the president of the Russian Football Premier League. From 2003 to 2008 he was appointed member of the Federation Council of Russia’s Federal Assembly, and in 2008 he became Minister of Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy. He has been Deputy PM, directing policy related to sport, tourism, and youth, since 2016. Following several doping scandals in Russian sports, he resigned from organising the FIFA World Cup, but was allowed to stay in government despite facing harsh international criticism. Many were surprised by Mutko’s change of roles, as he has been widely mocked as ineffectual and incompetent. Medvedev explained his appointment with the phrase, “we don’t submit to external pressure”.
8. Defense Industries: Yury Borisov (replacing Dmitry Rogozin)
Yury Borisov received his education from various military institutions before graduating from MSU’s Faculty of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics, and continued to serve as an army officer until 1998. Between 1998 and 2012 he occupied multiple roles in Russia’s military-industrial complex. He became Deputy Industry Minister in 2008, specializing in radio electronics and supervising the GLONASS satellite system. He was appointed Deputy Defense Minister in 2012. He is considered to be a strong choice for this position due to his experience, abilities to form alliances across parties, and for providing a long-term perspective and leadership. He is said to be closely connected to Sergei Chemezov, head of Rostec State Corporation meaning Chemezov’s influence in the government has potential to grow.
9. Digital Economy, Transport & Communication: Maxim Akimov (replacing Arkady Dvorkovich)
Maxim Akimov’s appointment was surprising to many due to his low profile in Russian politics. Originally a high school history teacher from the Kaluga Region, Akimov has worked mostly in regional government, first as Deputy Director of the Economy and Industry Department (1997-2001), later as First Deputy Chairman of the State Property Committee (2001-2004) and then as Economic Development Minister (2004). Akimov was also Mayor of Kaluga and Deputy Governor of the region, as well as the president of the region’s badminton federation. In 2012 he was appointed Deputy Chief of Government Staff. He is known in Kaluga as the ‘father of the carnival’, after spearheading an initiative to hold a carnival for the city’s birthday. During his time in government, Akimov worked on economic digitalization programs and advocated for a sovereign payment system. He is expected to continue pushing for a digitalization of Russia’s economy in his new role.
10. Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far East Federal District: Yuri Trutnev (no change)
Yury Trutnev was born in Perm, holds an engineering degree and has interned as drill-operator, engineer and researcher in the oil industry. In the 1990s he founded a company specializing in fitness equipment, and engaged in various other business projects with partners, including selling Nestlé chocolate in Russia. In 1996 he was elected Mayor of Perm, and then Governor of Perm Oblast. From 2004 to 2012 he served as Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, and has worked with three different Prime Ministers: Fradkov, Zubkov and Putin. From 2012 to 2013 he was Presidential Aide, and then became Deputy PM and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far East Federal District. He is expected to keep both posts in the new government. He enjoys car racing, hunting, and practices karate. He also heads the Russian Union of Martial Arts.