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#5 - JRL 7256
BBC Monitoring
Russian TV suggests Putin is setting up a shadow cabinet
Source: Centre TV, Moscow, in Russian 1800 gmt 17 Jul 03

[Presenter Stanislav Kucher] While Russian President [Vladimir Putin] is speaking about patriotism [on a visit to Staraya Ladoga] a conflict between new wave politicians and those who became the country's elite under the first Russian president [Boris Yeltsin] is gaining momentum.

As the tradition goes, the cabinet of ministers has become the centre of discord. Even those who at first sight are not involved in politics have been involved in a reshuffle. The head of the government's staff [Igor Shuvalov] left the [Russian government's] White House in May [2003].

The St Petersburg team - Deputy Prime Minister [Aleksey] Kudrin, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref - have ended in an almost direct confrontation with the people of the prime minister [Mikhail Kasyanov]. A new resignation took place today [17 July] - that of the comrade-in-arms of the former head of government staff, Aleksey Volin. For many media outlets he was "the high-ranking government official" they used to quote.

[Correspondent] Volin explains his decision by saying that he does not want to be a clerk any more. According to him, a job should be changed every three years. [Passage omitted]

Volin's resignation has in fact coincided with setting up a special working group on doubling the GDP. The decision on setting up this mysterious agency was taken last Friday [11 July] at Putin's meeting with the country's political elite. It was decided then that the group will be headed by Volin's former chief and associate, Igor Shuvalov. Until May 2003 he was the chief of the government's staff.

Incidentally, the rumour of Volin's pending resignation first appeared after Shuvalov left his post.

By the middle of this week [13-20 July] the composition and functions of the group have been determined. Apart from doubling the GDP and combating poverty, the newly established group will deal with the military and pension reforms, obligatory medical insurance, with developing mortgage system and setting up a free economic zone in Kaliningrad as well as dealing with the problems of the Russian aircraft manufacturing industry. In other words, its tasks are absolutely the same as the tasks the current cabinet of ministers.

Shuvalov's team will consist of Sergey Glazyev, Andrey Kokoshin, Georgiy Boos and Gennadiy Kulik - all representing the State Duma. It will also include Vladimir Mau, though he is not a State Duma member, who will support the interests of the right-wing forces, oligarchs Kakha Bendukidze and Oleg Deripaska as well as Andrey Larionov and German Gref. It looks that the team will provide that impetus to the cabinet that Putin mentioned in his state of the nation address [on 16 May].

While the St Petersburg part of Putin's entourage is fighting to the death with what has remained of the old Kremlin Family [Boris Yeltsin's entourage], it seems that Putin himself is step by step forming a new shadow government. If this is what is going on, any - even a shadow - cabinet will need information support, especially on the eve of elections.

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