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    GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE REPEATEDLY CHANGED IN 12 YEARS

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    MOSCOW, March 9, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - In the past 12 years, the structure of the Russian government was repeatedly modified.

    Under Viktor Chernomyrdin, who was first appointed prime minister on December 14, 1992, the number of first deputy prime ministers, deputy prime ministers, ministers and ministries was changed a few times.

    Chernomyrdin's cabinet included 23 members of the previous cabinet headed by acting Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar.

    By the end of Chernomyrdin's first government, it had two first deputy prime ministers and seven deputy prime ministers.

    From August 1996, Mr. Chernomyrdin's second government included three first deputy prime ministers and eight deputy prime ministers, 24 ministries and the same amount of ministers.

    After its composition was changed twice - in March 1997 and in early 1998 - Chernomyrdin's government resigned on March 23, 1998, and Sergei Kirienko was appointed acting prime minister. He was appointed to this post by the presidential decree on April 24.

    From April 1998, Kirienko's government had three deputy prime ministers (none of them first), and two of them were dismissed in late July.

    Sixteen out of the 28 members of Chernomyrdin's government made it into the new government. In all, Kirienko's government had 22 ministries, 24 ministers (including the chief of the government staff, and then head of the State Tax Service).

    Mr. Kirienko was dismissed on August 23, 1998, and Viktor Chernomyrdin was appointed acting prime minister. However, he voluntarily resigned on September 10.

    On the same day, the Russian president appointed Yevgeny Primakov prime minister. Fourteen people from Mr. Kirienko's government were included in the new government. Mr. Primakov's government had three first deputy prime ministers and three deputy prime ministers, 25 ministries and 26 ministers (including chief of the government staff).

    On May 12, 1999, the president decreed to dismiss Mr. Primakov's government. Sergei Stepashin was appointed acting prime minister, and on May 19 the State Duma (lower house) approved his candidacy to this post.

    The new cabinet included 16 people from the previous government. Mr. Stepashin's government had two first deputy prime ministers and three deputy prime ministers, 27 ministries and 29 ministers (including the chief of the government staff and the minister without a portfolio).

    On August 9, 1999 the president signed a decree on the first deputy prime minister of the Russian Federation, thereby introducing the third post of the first deputy prime minister. Vladimir Putin was appointed to this post. Mr. Stepashin's government was dismissed, Mr. Putin appointed acting prime minister. On August 16, 1999 the State Duma approved his candidacy to this post.

    Mr. Putin's cabinet included the highest number of the previous government members - 30 people out of 34.

    From August 17, 1999 Mr. Putin's government had one first deputy prime minister and six deputy prime ministers. From January 10, 2000 the government had seven deputy prime ministers, including one first deputy prime minister and a deputy prime minister - plenipotentiary representative of the Russian government in Chechnya.

    Mr. Putin's government had 27 ministries, 30 ministers (including the chief of the government staff, the minister without a portfolio and the plenipotentiary representative in the State Duma in the rank of a minister).

    After his inauguration as the Russian president on May 7, 2000, Vladimir Putin appointed first deputy prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov acting prime minister. On May 17, 2000, the State Duma agreed to this appointment.

    Twenty-three out of the 29 members of the new government made it into the new cabinet.

    Mr. Kasyanov's government had six deputy prime ministers (none of them first), 23 ministries and 26 ministers (including the chief of the government staff and two ministers without portfolios).

    On February 24, 2004 Russian President Vladimir Putin decreed to dismiss Mikhail Kasyanov's government, and appoint Viktor Khristenko acting prime minister.

    On March 5, 2004 the State Duma approved Mikhail Fradkov's candidacy for the prime minister, and on the same day the president appointed him prime minister.

    The Russian Constitution gives the new prime minister seven days to present his ideas about the government structure to the president.

    The number of first deputy prime ministers and deputy prime ministers is not legally envisaged and is determined by the president. Their number can be changed by a presidential decree.

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