Putin puts trusted allies in key posts

Putin puts trusted allies in key posts

President Vladimir Putin asserted his command of Russia on Monday with a new cabinet in which trusted allies will oversee finance while tested veterans keep tight reigns on foreign affairs and defence.

But a top liberal aide of current premier and Putin’s predecessor Dmitry Medvedev also claimed a key industry post after a reportedly bruising battle with some of the more hawkish members of the administration.

The moves mean that Putin will have a closely faithful government run by his understudy Medvedev that can pursue cautious reforms but may ultimately have to leave most of the big decisions to the president's team in the Kremlin.

Putin gathered his 29 ministers and deputy premiers around an oval table and informed them about their goal of restoring the record growth rates of his first two terms as president in 2000-2008.

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