RBC published a report on Saturday saying that newly-appointed Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin’s former position in the Presidential Administration would be filled by former Yeltsin Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko. Kiriyenko is currently chief of Russia’s state-run atomic energy company, Rosatom. The rumor was mostly met with skepticism on the Russian blogosphere.
Damian Kudriavtsev asked on Facebook:
Is the situation at Rosatom so bad that it is necessary to kick out the chief? Or is it the other way around, and everything is great?
Anton Nosik replied:
Everything there is very atomic. But to replace Volodin with Kiriyenko is like something from 1905, and doesn’t keep with the trend of recent appointments.
Igor Ryabov completely dismissed the rumors as “unrealistic”, citing the fact that the story came from RBC, which he says is connected to Putin crony Kovalchuk.
Kiriyenko lives for the corporate development of “Rosatom”, has huge plans, the role of nuclear energy continues to grow around the world, and he finds it very interesting, as I know.
“On the other hand,” he continues, it’s not just Volodin’s chair that needs to be filled.
The Presidential Administration was charged with the task of rethinking the role of the “curator of domestic policy” (and clearly it has still not been formed). I think that Volodin will take with him [into his new role as Duma Speaker] a significant piece of authority to manage the political process. The PA is likely to retain the areas of functional and operational control of the regions.
Accordingly, the new “VP [Vladimir Putin] curator” is likely to be more of a technical person, and less of an “architect”, an individual like Vaino [the recently appointed Chief of Staff of the PA]. Most likely a promising individual who is young and has considerable experience with the regions. For example, someone from active in the ONF [All-Russia People’s Front].
The first person I thought of when reading Ryabov’s description was ONF’s Alexander Brechalov, who is on a path to more prominent positions. Brechalov was most recently appointed (along with former Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov) to the newly formed Presidential Council on Strategic Development and Priority Projects. He is also a member of the Presidential Council on Anti-Corruption.
This is a very complicated process, as someone recently pointed out. Every time you transfer one person, another person must be moved to replace him, which then leaves another empty seat that must be filled. And so there’s a cycle, and the decisions must be made ahead of time. It’s a bit like musical chairs. But people are not really being removed from the game in this version. There are enough seats to go around. The goal here is finding the right fit. And the confusion that it generates is an added bonus.
For another view, see my next post.