Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Fradkov Resigns, Right on Schedule!
Usually when a prime minister resigns, there is an overall shakeup in the cabinet. This is why a number of Moscow sources are predicting that we will see movement around a number of key figures--the two deputy prime ministers and "front-runners" for 2008--Sergei Ivanov and Dimitri Medvedev; another deputy prime minister, Sergei Naryshkin; the head of Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin; and the head of the powerful defense conglomerate Rosoboronexport. Of particular interest will be whether or not the current Minister for Natural Resources, Yuri Trutnev, will step down--since his ministry is the key in terms of awarding lucrative mining and exploration licenses and will be in charge of implementing the legislation restricting foreign ownership of and participation in Russia's natural resource sectors.
Given constant rumors that one of the "bargains" for ensuring a smooth succession in 2008 is the reconfiguration of the governemnt to award key ministries to different political and economic groupings in advance of the presidential elections, with the Cabinet then in essence being "frozen" for the new president, at least until 2010, the question of presidential succession may be on the verge of being resolved.