Putin unleashed his new cabinet, new deputy PM appointed

Putin unleashed his new cabinet, new deputy PM appointed

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday called on his new government to work to bring about “change in all areas of life”.

“You must take the initiative … have a modern management style,” Putin told ministers at the first cabinet meeting in the Kremlin since they were appointed on May 18.

“The engine of change in all areas of life must be found here and the whole country has to feel its rhythm,” he said. “Serve as an example of constructive cooperation” with civil society, Putin told the gathering which included Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev.

Putin swept to election victory on March 18 after 18 years in power and has stuck with his close ally Medvedev.

Key cabinet posts have remained unchanged with veteran Sergei Lavrov holding on to the foreign ministry and Sergei Shoigu defence.

Despite Putin’s call for change his fourth term in the Kremlin had not been expected to see of a switch of direction.

Recent years have been particularly turbulent for Moscow’s ties with the West and seen economic austerity alongside conservative social values.

The most significant move in the new cabinet was the promotion of Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, who kept the finance portfolio, to first deputy prime minister — the second most important position in government.

Vitaly Mutko — at the heart of institutional doping allegations against Russian athletes — stayed on as a deputy prime minister but lost his sports remit. He was put in charge of construction.