HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Putin Promotes Sergei Ivanov to First Deputy Premier

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin promoted Sergei Ivanov to first deputy prime minister from defense minister, giving him the same rank as his main rival to replace Putin next year.

Putin's announcement of Ivanov's promotion was broadcast on Russian television today. The presidential press service could not immediately be reached for comment.

``The successor's name is still unknown but Sergei Ivanov has a very good chance,'' Olga Khrystanovskaya, a Moscow-based analyst of the Russian political elite, said in a telephone interview. Ivanov's promotion ``allows him to become a more wide-ranging politician.''

It also places Ivanov, 54, on the same level as the other first deputy prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, 41. The two men are frequently cited by Russian media as the frontrunners to succeed Putin, who's also 54. The country is scheduled to hold a presidential election in March 2008 and Putin is barred by the constitution from standing for a third consecutive term.

Ivanov has support from the powerful group of former KGB Soviet security-service agents who wield the most influence in Putin's government, unlike Medvedev, Khrystanovskaya said.

``Ivanov is a strong figure. He is part of the politburo of security hawks who decide everything.'' Putin and Ivanov both served in the KGB.

KGB Successor

Ivanov's rise through Russia's state structures has tracked Putin's. He became deputy director of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, the main successor to the KGB, when Putin was appointed the service's director in 1998. He then rose to head Russia's Security Council in November 1999 when Putin left that post to become prime minister and then president the next year.

Ivanov has taken a tough line with the U.S., criticizing U.S. bases in Central Asia after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and U.S. plans for a missile defense shield in eastern Europe.

Medvedev, who worked with Putin in the St. Petersburg city administration after the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991, courted Western investors at the Davos economic forum last month. He is currently tasked by Putin with raising the standard of education, housing and health-care in Russia.

Ivanov and Medvedev both receive extensive coverage on Russia's state-run national networks. Medvedev has benefited most from the exposure to date.

In a survey by the Levada Center from Jan. 19-23, Medvedev rated 33 percent compared with Ivanov's 21 percent. The agency asked 1,600 respondents who they would vote for if elections were held next Sunday.

`Lame Duck'

Ivanov's promotion prevents Medvedev from assuming the mantle of favorite, Christophe Granville, managing editor of Trusted Sources, a new analytical service on emerging markets, said by telephone.

``Putin doesn't want a definite successor. He wants to keep equilibrium,'' Granville said. ``This keeps Putin as the arbiter, not a lame duck.''

Putin said during a press conference in Moscow Feb. 1 he will wait until the presidential election campaign starts before endorsing a successor.

The president appointed Anatoly Serdyukov, head of Russia's tax service for the last three years, to replace Ivanov as defense minister. The defense ministry refused to attach any significance to the change.

``This reform doesn't have anything to do with the future election,'' Ivanov's spokesman Pavel Zenkovich said by telephone. ``As the president has said, there will be no successor, there will be candidates, and this nomination is a consequence of a logical process in carrying out the development of our economy.''

Ivanov will now have the task of overseeing Russia's defense industry and part of the civilian economy in his new post. ``In these conditions he won't be able to carry on as defense minister,'' Putin said in his announcement today. ``You can't sit on two stools.''
Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org