Double-faced Putin fires chief of staff
Russian President Vladimir Putin has relieved his close ally and powerful chief of staff Sergei Ivanov from his duties in the most high-profile power reshuffle at the Kremlin in several years.
“I’m happy with how you handle tasks in your line of work. I remember well our agreement that you had asked me not to keep you as chief of the presidential administration for more than four years and that is why I understand your desire to choose another line of work,” Putin told Ivanov during a meeting broadcast live on state-owned Russia-24 TV channel on Friday.
“I’m receptive to your wish to transfer to another area of activity,” the Russian president added.
Ivanov was also taken off the Security Council of the Russian Federation (SCRF), which is chaired by Putin and composed of key ministers and chiefs of security services.
The 63-year-old Ivanov, for his part, thanked Putin for his “high assessment” of his work during the past 17 years.
Ivanov would now serve as the Russian president’s special representative for conservation, environmental and transportation issues.
Putin later named Anton Vaino, a 44-year-old ex-diplomat at the Russian Embassy in Japan and Ivanov’s deputy since 2012, to the high-profile post.
The Kremlin chief of staff is tasked with drafting motions for the president to submit to the lower house of parliament (the State Duma), monitoring their enforcement, and carrying out surveys of domestic and foreign affairs for Russia’s strongman.
Ivanov was named the deputy director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) following Putin’s appointment as the FSB chief in August 1998.
In March 2001, Ivanov was appointed the Russian defense minister. He held the position until February 2007, when Putin elevated him to the post of first deputy prime minister and dismissed him as defense minister.
Many political analysts and observers had considered Ivanov a leading candidate to take over from Putin as president in 2008, when he handed over the top job to current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev before reclaiming it in 2012.
Ivanov was appointed Kremlin chief of staff in December 2011