|22 May 2012
"The clear message from all these new appointments is that there will be no new Putin, as many people had hoped for," says Mikhail Kasyanov, who was Putin's prime minister during his first term, 2000 to 2004, and now heads a liberal opposition party, PARNAS.
"There was a feeling that Putin had learned a lesson from the wave of protests, and would bring on reforms. But the new cabinet does not contain any people with ideas of their own; it's made up of technocrats who will take their instructions from the Kremlin. Putin has moved all his strongest loyalists into the Kremlin, and they will be the ones to formulate those instructions," Mr. Kasyanov says.
"In fact, Putin will continue in both capacities (president and prime minister) as he has all along. He doesn't want to change anything; he believes everything is under control and he'll always have enough money to feed people with, so he need not risk reforms. But serious problems are on the horizon, and within a couple of years the situation may change cardinally," he adds.
"I read the new government.s composition - there.s only one conclusion - the policies remain the same - pressure everybody, business and citizens," Mikhail Kasyanov, who served as prime minister under Putin from 2000 to 2004, wrote on Twitter.
Kasyanov also criticized the appointment of Vladislav Surkov as deputy prime minister and Cabinet chief of staff and of Vladimir Medinsky as culture minister. "The propaganda machine built under Putin continues its work in the Cabinet," he told Interfax.
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