Vladimir Putin names new Russian cabinet


Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a new Cabinet, warning that it will have to fulfil its duties in a difficult global economic climate.

Several key ministers, including foreign, defense and finance, have kept their seats, but some of the most unpopular ones were replaced.

Putin, who won a third term in March's election, said the new Cabinet led by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev should continue the course set in previous years.

"The situation in the global economy is unclear, there are quite a lot of factors that make it opaque," Putin said in televised remarks to the new Cabinet. "You will have to fulfill a program of Russia's development in these conditions."

Medvedev stepped down as president to allow Putin to reclaim the top job. Putin served as the premier for four years after having to relinquish his presidency after two terms due to limits.

Many members of the old Cabinet have retained their seats, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has clung to his seat despite a controversy over his investments and wealth.

Vladislav Surkov, the architect of of Putin's domestic policies who was transferred to the Cabinet last fall, also has retained a seat of deputy prime minister.

But some of the most unpopular ministers, including those who were in charge of the health, education, and interior affairs, have left the Cabinet. Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, who has faced massive public criticism over widespread incidents of torture and other abuses by police, has been replaced by Moscow police chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev.

Tatyana Golikova, who has been seen as a culprit for the worsening state of the nation's healthcare system amid a reform widely seen as badly planned and ill-guided, has been replaced by her deputy, Veronika Skvortsova. The highly unpopular former Education Minister Anatoly Fursenko was succeeded by Dmitry Livanov, the rector of the Moscow Steel University.