Kremlin not increasing pressure on government – deputy premier
(Interfax – June 21, 2013) The Kremlin is not increasing pressure on the Russian government; President Vladimir Putin is simply changing the principles governing the work of the executive authorities, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has said. Shuvalov was speaking in an interview to internet and satellite broadcaster Dozhd TV on 21 June on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. His remarks were subsequently reported by Russian news agencies.
“We are not currently experiencing a period when the president is putting pressure on the government through the administration. I believe that we are currently experiencing a period when the president is looking in a different way at how the government and the president himself should work. We are experiencing the formation of new principles for the executive authorities’ work,” privately-owned Interfax news agency quoted Shuvalov as saying.
He said that “today, completely different conditions for the work are being created; we are currently experiencing the formation of new standards of behaviour”.
He recalled that President Putin set each minister the task of forming a five-year plan for work, which will be reported on at the end of each year.
“That is, we are currently changing to a completely different form of work for the government, when a direct link exists with public organizations and experts, and every day – a report about what has been done and what plans there are for the future. It has become significantly harder to work in the government,” Shuvalov said.
Dozhd also showed Shuvalov saying that it should not be expected that the government is close to being dismissed. However, he said that “members of the government should always know that a dismissal may be carried out at any moment” and therefore they should work every day “as much as possible, at the limit of their capabilities”.
Speaking about false reports on 19 June that Russian Railways (RZhD) chief Vladimir Yakunin had been removed from his post, Shuvalov called the situation a provocation and said that it was aimed against the government.
“I believe that it is a provocation. It became a hot topic because Vladimir Ivanovich (Yakunin) holds a very high post, it is a serious company,” Shuvalov said.
He added that the culprits could achieve several aims at once with their actions “including an attack on him (Yakunin), on the government and on the person whom was immediately appointed acting (RZhD head),” Shuvalov said.
“But I tell you seriously that this does not have any negative consequences for Vladimir Ivanovich,” he said.
Shuvalov also said that the Skolkovo Foundation, a hi-tech project promoted by Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev, should be seen through and the violations uncovered should be eliminated, including punishing those responsible.
“Specific violations were found and I spoke about this with (Skolkovo president) Viktor Vekselberg. Of course, when violations are found and you are forced to give explanations regarding these violations, there is nothing pleasant,” Shuvalov said.
He added that the Skolkovo project must be implemented and cannot be “abandoned halfway through”.
Shuvalov also said that he does not regard the investigation into violations during the construction of facilities for the APEC summit in Vladivostok as a personal attack, RIA Novosti quoted him as saying. The summit was held in Russia’s Far East in September 2012.
“They found the relevant violators and instituted a criminal case. I am told: it is an attack on you. You know, I don’t understand that this is an attack on me. I do not have anything to do with these people,” Shuvalov said.