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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Minister Says Family Ties Won't Affect Cabinet

Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Naryshkin said Wednesday that he did not think familial relationships between Cabinet members would affect the overall performance of the government.

"In my opinion, this should not hinder government members' performance of their duties in any way," Naryshkin said, Russkaya Sluzhba Novostei radio service reported. "I have to say that we have good, comradely relations."

Two members of the new Cabinet are married to each other: Health and Social Development Minister Tatyana Golikova and Industry and Energy Minister Sergei Khristenko. Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, meanwhile, is the son-in-law of Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov. Serdyukov submitted his resignation last week, citing conflict-of-interest issues, but President Vladimir Putin refused to accept it.

Relatives are prohibited by law from working under each other in government service. As defense minister, Serdyukov reports to the president and not the prime minister, meaning the law does not apply in this case. The same is true of Golikova and Khristenko because neither works under the other.

Naryshkin, who supervises public administration reform in the government, also said further changes to the Cabinet could not be ruled out.

There might be "surgical adjustments" in the makeup of the Cabinet, Naryshkin said. He singled out the "not always efficient" relationship between federal agencies and ministries when commenting on possible changes.