Uncertainty Hangs Over Government Staff

The government is in limbo.

Many bureaucrats don't know what is going on from one day to the next and whether they will even have a job tomorrow. A paralysis has set in at the federal government, and major decisions appear to have been put off until after May 7, when Dmitry Medvedev will be inaugurated president and Vladimir Putin will presumably take over the government as prime minister.

"Everyday there are new rumors about who's staying and who's leaving, but nothing is clear yet," a mid-level government official said.

"Nobody knows where he might go tomorrow," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of upsetting his superiors.

A layer of bureaucrats will leave around the time First Deputy Prime Minister Medvedev assumes the presidency, partly in an effort to combat corruption, two Kremlin insiders said. But no far-reaching reshuffle is expected -- at least for now -- as there is concern over upsetting a delicate balance between two competing Kremlin clans.

"It is too early to have any information about changes in the government and the [presidential] administration," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Another well-placed Kremlin official said no one knew who would stay or leave because Putin himself remained undecided.

Most Kremlin and government officials contacted for this article flatly refused to comment. Those who did comment asked for anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the situation.

The wait is spurring curiosity in Western diplomatic circles about who will move with Putin from the Kremlin to the White House, who will move with Medvedev from the White House to the Kremlin, and who will move out altogether.

"I want to know whether Sechin will follow Putin to the White House," said one Western diplomat. Sechin, Putin's powerful deputy chief of staff, heads one of the Kremlin clans.

The presidential administration and the Cabinet, however, are likely to remain largely untouched for at least the first months of Medvedev's presidency, political analysts said.

Both Putin and Medvedev understand that any drastic changes would create instability among the Kremlin clans and might allow one to prevail over the other or -- worse still -- the emergence of a new clan, said a former security officer familiar with the sentiment in the Kremlin.

"At the moment, the wisest thing to do is not to reorganize the elite too much. Any move should be done cautiously and should be well thought out in order to maintain the balance among the Kremlin clans," the officer said.

A significant reshuffle now could create a loss of balance that would allow a Kremlin clan to take over the other, said Andrei Ryabov, a political analyst with the Carnegie Moscow Center.

"The elite are well aware of the dangers of an executive branch of power in which power is vested in two clans," Ryabov said.

To keep the clans under control and avoid the possibility of one hijacking the presidency, Sechin and some members of his group are likely to move to the White House with Putin, the former security official said.

Many members of the rival clan, which backed Medvedev, are likely to keep their Kremlin posts, he said.

Sechin most likely will become the government chief of staff, said political analyst Alexei Mukhin, citing his sources in the Kremlin.

After his clan's setback with Medvedev, Sechin will probably stay away from the public eye for a while, said Mukhin, head of the Center for Political Information.

Both Mukhin and Stanislav Belkovsky, a former Kremlin spin-doctor, said Sergei Sobyanin, Putin's chief of staff and Medvedev's campaign manager, will likely keep his post. Speculation has been swirling for weeks, however, that Sobyanin will become Moscow's next mayor.

Vladislav Surkov, Putin's other chief of staff, will also stay put in the Kremlin, Mukhin said. "He has done a lot for Medvedev, and Medvedev appreciates that, even if they haven't always been on good terms," he said.

Ryabov said Medvedev, like Putin, would have to serve as a mediator between the clans, trying to prevent one from prevailing over the other.

Belkovsky predicted that 70 percent of the Cabinet and presidential administration would remain untouched, not only to avoid a fight among the clans, but also because Medvedev and Putin were short of qualified personnel.

"Even super professionals or Nobel Prize winners are unlikely to be hired for top government or Kremlin jobs if they don't have links to the clans," Belkovsky said. "Loyalty to one of the clans will be the first quality needed for the job."

























































































People To Watch

Presidential Administration

























Itar-Tass
Sergei Sobyanin
Kremlin chief of staff; expected to keep his post. Some Kremlin officials want him to become Moscow"s next mayor.











Reuters
Igor Sechin
Kremlin deputy chief of staff; expected to leave his post. He could be appointed Cabinet chief of staff, deputy prime minister or sent to Rosneft.











AP
Vladislav Surkov
Kremlin deputy chief of staff; expected to keep his post.











Vedomosti
Viktor Ivanov
Presidential aide and chairman of Aeroflot and Almaz-Antei; expected to get a senior post in the military-industrial complex or to move to the White House with Putin.











MT
Igor Shuvalov
Presidential aide; expected to move to the White House and be promoted to deputy prime minister.











MT
Alexei Gromov
Head of the Kremlin"s press service, board member of Channel One television; expected to move to the White House.











Kremlin.ru
Natalya Timakova
Senior Kremlin spokeswoman; expected to replace Gromov as head of the president"s press service.
Cabinet











AP
Viktor Zubkov
Prime minister; expected to be demoted to first deputy prime minister and appointed chairman or deputy chairman of Gazprom.











Bloomberg
Sergei Ivanov
First deputy prime minister; expected to keep his post or be demoted to deputy prime minister. He is rumored to be seeking the post of Moscow mayor.











Bloomberg
Alexei Kudrin
Deputy prime minister and finance minister; expected to keep his posts.











AP
Dmitry Kozak
Regional development minister; expected to be promoted to deputy prime minister.











Reuters
Tatyana Golikova
Health and social development minister; expected to be promoted to deputy prime minister.











Bloomberg
Alexander Zhukov
Deputy prime minister; expected to keep his post or be promoted to first deputy prime minister.











Vedomosti
Alexei Gordeyev
Agriculture minister; expected











MT
Rashid Nurgaliyev
Interior minister; expected to leave and be replaced by his deputy Yevgeny Shkolov, who previously worked as an assistant to Medvedev in the presidential administration.
Security Services Other











MT
Nikolai Patrushev
Federal Security Service director; expected to fight to keep his post to prevent it from going to his opponent Viktor Cherkesov, head of the Federal Drug Control Service.











Vedomosti
Viktor Cherkesov
Federal Drug Control Service chief; expected to be seeking the post of FSB director.











Bastrykin.ru
Alexander Bastrykin
Head of the Investigative Committee; expected to leave his post.











MT
Alexander Voloshin
Unified Energy System chairman; expected to join the presidential administration, perhaps in a backroom power broker role.
Sources: Political analysts, Russian media reports