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Putin May Have 11 Deputies

President Vladimir Putin will have 11 deputy prime ministers after he assumes his new post as prime minister — six more than in the current government structure, Gazeta reported Monday.

Putin, who is expected to be approved by the State Duma as prime minister Thursday, will take some of his presidential staff with him to serve as deputy prime ministers, while at least three of the acting deputy prime ministers will be reappointed, Gazeta said, citing an unidentified senior government source.

Putin's powerful deputy chief of staff, Igor Sechin, and Kremlin press secretary, Alexei Gromov, may be appointed deputy prime ministers, the source said.

Alexander Zhukov, Sergei Naryshkin and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin will keep their status as deputy prime ministers, while current Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov will be appointed as another of Putin's deputies, the source said.

First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov could leave his post to head the Security Council, the source said.

In addition to becoming deputy prime minister, Sechin may replace Naryshkin as the government's chief of staff, while Gromov could be charged with overseeing education, culture and the mass media, the report said.

Reached by telephone, government spokesman Alexander Zharov referred all inquiries to the Kremlin. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to "comment on rumors."

(The Moscow Times 6.v.08)

 
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