Zubkov instead of Fradkov
The Premier Minister Mikhail Fradkov has requested Vladimir Putin to dismiss government. He explained that soon there would be important political events in the country and he wanted to give the president free rein to act.
The president accepted the resignation and said: “The country is really approaching to parliamentarian elections and then to that of president. May be you are right and we should think, how to form structure of the government to make it suitable to the pre-election period as far as possible and prepare the country for time after the parliamentarian and then persidential elections in March 2008”.
The government resigned suddenly, but even more sudden became news that Putin named the little-known head of a financial market watchdog Viktor Zubkov as his prime minister. According to people’s opinion the new premier minister is to become a president in 2008 and deputy premier Sergei Ivanov was considered to be the most possible candidacy.
But it is time to remember words of Putin’s aid Igor Shuvalov: “People talk about two candidacy (Ivanov and Medvedev), but my president can spring surprise and, perhaps, later in this year you’ll know about one more figure”.
It is remarkable, that Viktor Zubkov is not a former chekist or lawyer. But he is Putn’s intimate friend, and his daughter is married to a son of Anatoly Serdykov, the Minister of Defence, former head of the Federal Tax Service and several furniture plants. Colleagues of Zubkov say that he is very trainee.
Thus, one can expect anything. Even that Zubkov, 66, will become a president and in 2012 or even earlier he will hand on power o Putin. But at the moment it is not more that suppositions. A political scientists Vladimir Pribylovsky reckons that the premier minister and the president should not be certainly one person. “Putin won’t use the scheme that Yeltsin has used”, he said. According to him, Putin needs to have two different persons recently appointed by him on two key positions. Then they will have equal “credit history” and they will balance each other.
Viktor Alekseevich Zubkov, born September 15, 1941 in Arbat village of the Sverdlov Area, finished the Faculty of Economics of the Leningard Agriculture Institute. After the army headed one of departments of a sovkhoz in Gatchina district, Leningrad Area. He had a good career and 1987 became a deputy director of the Leningrad Area Executive Committee, responsible for agriculture. 1992 he became a deputy director of agriculture of the St. Petersburg City Administration Committee on Foreign Affairs headed by Vladimir Putin. According to some information at that time Zubkov helped Putin and his other colleagues to purchase holdings in the Priozersk district of the Leningad Area. After that he was appointed at the position of the chief of the State Tax Service in St. Petersburg. He succeeded this job and 1999 he advanced rapidly and following Putin found himself in Moscow having become deputy Minister for Taxes-and-duties Affairs. 2001, the first deputy Minister of Finance, acting as chief of the Committee on Financial Monitoring (Financial Research); since March 2004, head of the Federal Service of Financial Monitoring. Thanks to him Russia has left the black list of the FATF. He struggled against money laundering and succeeded in this activity.
Zubkov is a close friend of Putin and his family. He was one of few friends invited at Putin’s birthday and even helped blowing out candles on the cake.
Now one should expect new staff replacements in the cabinet. It should be reminded that when in 2004 Putin dismissed the government, nobody was resigned without advancement. Now the situation differs. Now the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will be probably divided into two departments, the Ministry of Social Affairs and that of health. It will be interesting to see the future of Mikhail Zurabov, since, according to experts, his discharge will become a per-election present for the electorate. Political scientist Vladimir Pribylovsky and analytic of the Carnegie Centre Andrei Ryabov reckon, that Zurabov won’t enter the new government.
According to Ryabov, we also won’t see in the new cabinet the Minister of Nature Resources Yuri Trutnev and, perhaps, the Minister of Finance Alexei Kudrin and Victor Khristenko, head of the Ministry of Industry and Energy. If it is so, it will be a possibility to appoint Victor Khristenko on the position of the head of Transneft, since Semen Vainshtock is leaving this post.
As for Kudrin, his future can become an indicator of changes or constancy in the policy of the president, reckons Vladimir Pribylovsky. Besides that, “Vedomosty” daily suppose that the Minister of Agriculture Alexei Gordeev can be demoted to governor of the Stavropol Territory or the Ryazan Area.