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September 13, 2007 15:57

The yesterday resignation of Russian government produced lots of questions with not only the world society but even with Russian citizens themselves. Who is Viktor Zubkov? Who will remain in the cabinet of Ministers? How the main Russian policy will change? And, of course, did President Putin call his successor or it’s just a technical move? Today at briefing Mr. Zubkov said he regards his running for president as possible.

September, 12, Vladimir Putin made an unexpected decision when he dismissed Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and nominated the head of the Russian Financial Monitoring, Viktor Zubkov, for the vacant position. With this decision Putin managed to confuse observers and deviate from the answer to the question of his successor.

The little-known head of Russia's financial brunch was born in the Sverdlovsk region of the Urals. He graduated as an economist and ran state farms in the Leningrad region before moving to St. Petersburg where he worked with Vladimir Putin during the latter's time in the mayor's office in the mid 1990s.

 Mr Zubkov, who will celebrate his 66th birthday this week, took the post of Deputy Finance Minister in 2001. And after many years in the Tax Ministry and the Financial Monitoring Service, he is thought by many politicians to be just the man for Prime Minister. As controller of the country's finances, Mr Zubkov is believed to be the right man brought in at the right time – a few months ahead of the Parliament and presidential elections.

“He is a man from the president’s team, well-educated and experienced in managing finances and that is exactly what we need right now because there is a huge cash flow in Russia, but somehow we cannot use it properly, so I think he is the right candidate”. Told Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Vice-Speaker of the Russian State Duma and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, gave his reaction.

If Mr. Zubkov takes the offered position we’ll know on Friday after 12:30 when the voting on his nomination takes place. It’s already known that the majority of the Duma supports him, including United Russia, Fair Russia and the Liberal Democratic Party. The only major party who may be against Mr. Zubkov or may abstain from the voting is the Communist Party.

Mr. Zubkov doesn't belong to any political party but supports United Russia. The media report Mr. Zubkov has already viewed his opinion on the future government which he is to form. Some changes among the current acting ministers are inevitable. For example, Mr Zurabov, a Russian politician and the current Minister of Health and Social Development are likely to be dismissed.

As for the major economic policy, it will remain mostly unchanged.

Some political analysts consider the promotion of Zubkov as a possible Putin's choice of successor to the post of President of Russia. If so, this would follow a precedent established by then-President Boris Yeltsin, who appointed Putin as Prime Minister on August 9, 1999, then resigned on the last day of 1999, appointing Putin on his place. Others, in turn, view Zubkov as one more technical Prime Minister, interpreting the move as a way to renew a competition between possible successors. Today Mr. Zubkov claimed he may enter the presidential compain 2008.



Irina Fomina


Tags: Russian government     

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