The Straits Times
Published on Oct 17, 2012

Russia's Putin asserts authority, sacks Regional Minister


MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Russian President Vladimir Putin sacked a member of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's Cabinet on Wednesday after five months in office, asserting his authority over a government some analysts predict will be short-lived.

Mr Putin signed a decree dismissing Regional Development Minister Oleg Govorun, one of two ministers he had publicly criticised last month, and replacing him with Mr Igor Slyunyayev, a former governor of Kostroma region north-east of Moscow.

The Kremlin has dismissed suggestions that Mr Putin was unhappy with the government, but his criticism of the two ministers added to speculation that he could dismiss PM Medvedev's Cabinet, particularly if economic conditions worsen.

It was the first change in the Cabinet Mr Putin unveiled two weeks after his May 7 inauguration to a new presidential term.