After Poltavchenko’s move to Petersburg this week, and with rumours of another reshuffle taking place soon (either before or after the elections), the thought occurred to me: what if every time you reshuffle, your group gets weaker? It doesn’t matter how small the reshuffle is. Even if you only lose one person, you still have to move three people (or more) to make it all work. For example, they lost Mironov. And to replace him, they had to lose Matviyenko, who was then replaced by Poltavchenko, who will be replaced by… and it keeps going. But every time you do that, you lose trust. Trust that has to be rebuilt. And that takes time. If you reshuffle on a regular basis, the trust never really gets rebuilt to its previous point, because there isn’t enough time to rebuild it. So that every time you reshuffle, your group becomes less cohesive, and therefore weaker.
As far as an actual reshuffle goes, Moskovsky Komsomolets had a piece today (in Russian) with seven members of the Government who may or may not be moved when the time comes.
1. Andrei Fursenko, Minister of Education. His “reforms” of the education establishment have not been popular. He’s probably one of the weakest members of the Government. However, he does have the Kovalchyuks on his side. And that may be the only thing that is saving him at this point.
2. Tatiana Golikova, Minister of Health and Social Development. According to the author of the MK piece, she hasn’t made enough of an effort in reforming Health Care, and since everyone goes to the doctor, everyone knows it. The author of the article also refers to Golikov’s ambition to take over Alexei Kudrin’s job as Minister of Finance.
3. Igor Levitin, Minister of Transportation. Levitin has always confused me, but he’s managed to survive this long, and I don’t see him being moved.
4. Anatoly Serdyukov, Minister of Defence. Here, MK rates him higher than the first three, and says that his chances of survival are good.
5. Valery Mutko, Minister of Sports. Okay, I have to copy this from the MK article: “Just say the phrase «лец ми спик фром май харт» and anyone, even a relatively intelligent person will understand at once what I am talking about.” And it’s true, isn’t it? Poor Valery, but I am still laughing inside.
6. Rashid Nurgaliyev, Minister of the Interior (MVD). Oh, Rashid. He keeps opening his mouth, and things come out, and I think, do you know what you are saying? Why are you talking right now? And he keeps talking. But MK thinks that he will stay on as Minister of the Interior, and I don’t think they are wrong.
7. Alexei Kudrin, Minister of Finance. Let’s just say that Golikova’s ambitions are not going to be realised anytime soon.
With all of these, I keep coming back to an old Putin quote: “…there are no other writers.” So, the reshuffles will continue.