10:51 GMT +324 October 2017
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    OLD AND NEW FACES IN THE GOVERNMENT

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    By RIA Novosti political commentator Dmitry Kozyrev

    With five days left before the presidential election, Vladimir Putin has made public the new government. Will this mean that there will be fundamental changes to the government's work?

    At first glance, one may very well think that the answer is rather ambiguous. The names Kudrin, Gref, Gordeyev and Khristenko - the economic core of the cabinet - are signs of stability and continuity. This same can also be said about the brilliant career diplomat Sergei Lavrov, the new foreign minister. Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov and Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu, who have retained their posts, are also symbols of continuity.

    It is still too early to say whether the new faces are open to change. But do we need change at all, if current economic policy has led to 30% economic growth over merely four years and made the task of doubling the GDP within ten years theoretically feasible?

    Indeed, it would be appropriate to mention here that in our day and age, and the experience of other countries proves this, stable growth is not only guaranteed by oil and industry, but also by education and healthcare. Therefore, relatively new figures such as Education and Science Minister Andrei Fursenko and Health Minister Mikhail Zurabov also deserve attention.

    There is also the feeling that the next presidential term will stand out for its co-operation between the branches of power. The government's link with the Duma and the presidential administration is symbolised by the appointments of former Duma vice-speaker Alexander Zhukov as the only vice-premier and ex-deputy chief of the Kremlin administration Dmitry Kozak as the new government office head. The epoch of conflicting centres of power, different poles of influence and constant infighting has been left behind, at least for two-or-three years until the next presidential elections.

    The new government has come to power at a time when Russia, with its political stability and good growth dynamics, has a rare chance to take a major stride forward.

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