Share Article via Email Russian President Vladimir Putin L and now former chief of President's staff Sergei Ivanov Vladimir Putin 's chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, got a new, much less high profile job in the Russian cabinet on Friday, a move that some experts say is not entirely surprising but which is sparking speculation about what's going on behind Frolov earnings on the Internet walls. Ivanov, once thought of as a possible successor to the president, had served as Putin's right hand man for more than four years, and according to statements out of the Kremlin, Ivanov requested that he be moved out of the important post.
Vladimir Frolov, foreign affairs columnist for Russian magazine Slon and contributor to the Moscow Times, told CNBC that Ivanov's replacement, Anton Vaino, was tapped by Putin because he had no ambitions of his own and isn't close with any of the country's politically powerful oligarchs.
Vaino was deputy head of Kremlin administration. Vaino is "here to implement Putin's decisions, not to provide counsel for policy making.
Other Russian sources who spoke to CNBC but who asked not be named said the shakeup is typical for Putin, who is accustomed to re-shuffling his cabinet prior to parliamentary elections, which are set to take place in September. He cited Putin's creation in April of a National Guard security force whose stated job is to combat crime and terrorism but which, as an organization internal to the presidency, can act as something of a private military for the president.
He cited economic uncertainty — the Russian economy has been crushed by Western sanctions and the plunge in oil prices from their highs — and possibly waning trust in Ivanov as Putin's motivations for shoring up internal control. She said the main question now is whether Putin will "go after" the most powerful leaders of the FSB.