MOSCOW - Reports came on Thursday evening that Russian President Vladimir Putin relieved his chief of staff Alexander Voloshin of his duties.
According to the Presidential Press Service, Mr. Putin appointed Dmitry Medvedev, who was Mr. Voloshin’s assistant, as his chief of staff. Dmitry Kozak was appointed Senior Deputy Chief of Staff, and Igor Shuvalov was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff.
The news was not a surprise. Rumors about reshuffles in the Kremlin began a week ago. Russian politicians are commenting on the issue.
Lyubov Sliska, Deputy Chairperson of the State Duma, believes that the President has a right to replace his chief of staff. “We were ready for changes in the Kremlin administration and expected them,” Ms. Sliska said.
“Perhaps, the President needs it to work better,” she added. Ms. Sliska recalled that Boris Yeltsin had also made changes in his administration and decided with whom it was more convenient to work.
Gennady Raikov, the head of the People's Deputy faction in the State Duma, called it "quite a natural reshuffle”. According to him, Dmitry Medvedev “represents a new trend while Alexander Voloshin is a good manager but from a somewhat old epoch". In Mr. Raikov’s opinion, “this is a generational change, but nothing will change in the politics with the arrival of the new chief of staff, as well as in the economy”.
For his part, Nikolay Kharitonov, the head of the Agrarian-Industrial Group of deputies in the State Duma, believes that "nothing significant will happen," as a result of the reshuffle.
"Vladimir Putin is surrounding himself with people from St. Petersburg, whom he trusts in business and everyday life," Mr. Kharitonov remarked. In his opinion, the President "could look for personnel in other regions, too." Kharitonov also thinks that there will be few changes in the economy as a result of Mr. Medvedev's appointment.
"They are experienced managers, strong economists and legal experts," said Vladislav Reznik, deputy head of the Yedinstvo (Unity) faction in the State Duma. “Comments are not needed here, because this is the presidential administration, and the President should decide on whom to appoint or dismiss,” he added. Mr. Reznik believes that this reshuffle will not lead to any significant political or economic changes.
Konstantin Kosachev, deputy head of the Fatherland-All Russia faction in the State Duma, said that the resignation of Alexander Voloshin and the appointment of Dmitry Medvedev was a normal process of personnel replacement, like in any other organization. "I am not inclined to dramatize this reshuffle," he noted.
In his opinion, as Alexander Voloshin was replaced with his assistant, “we can speak about continuity here”. The deputy described Dmitry Medvedev as a very competent person. “He has legal background, and this is important,” Mr. Kosachev said. He added that continuity and professionalism in the presidential administration would be preserved and developed.