Putin May Take Envoys Along to White House

The government may soon gain control over the Kremlin's regional envoys, a move that would boost President Vladimir Putin's powers as a future prime minister, Vedomosti reported Thursday.

Putin's successor, President-elect Dmitry Medvedev, is to be sworn in May 7, and Putin has said he would work as prime minister under his protege.

Vedomosti cited unidentified United Russia officials and a source in one ministry as saying that the role of the presidential envoys to the seven federal districts should now be economic and that they should answer to the government, which Putin is to lead as prime minister.

Sources confirmed that a reform within the Kremlin administration was being considered, Vedomosti said.

Regional Development Minister Dmitry Kozak told reporters after Thursday's cabinet meeting that he had heard nothing about any plans to transfer power over the envoys to the government.

"I don't have any such information," Kozak, a former presidential envoy, told reporters when asked about the report. "I repeat: I have no information at all about any changes to the subordination of the regional envoys."

Early in his presidency, Putin created seven superdistricts led by the presidential envoys, who are charged with making sure the regions in each district obeyed federal law.

A Kremlin source said no documents have been drawn up that would transfer power over the envoys to the prime minister, Interfax reported Thursday evening.