Putin Sends Kremlin Aides to the White House

President Vladimir Putin on Friday began forming his staff for when he takes over as next prime minister next month.

In activity after the close of business in Moscow, Putin signed into effect orders freeing his press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, and other senior aides from their duties in the presidential administration, a Kremlin spokeswoman said.

Peskov, who speaks four languages and has been Putin's chief spokesman to the world media since 2000, was named spokesman for the prime minister and a deputy government chief of staff, the government said in a statement Saturday.

Also switched were speechwriter Dmitry Kalimulin and chief of protocol Anton Vaino, who will serve as the government's head of protocol and a deputy chief of staff, the statement said. Kalimulin will be chief speechwriter for the prime minister.

The statement said the government staff could consist of no more than 1,464 people. The government chief of staff will have a total of six deputies.

A Kremlin aide, speaking to reporters Saturday, declined to say who would succeed Peskov in the Kremlin. "We'll do everything our usual way: secretly," he joked.

The Russian prime minister's press service was not immediately available for comment.

MT, Reuters