KLEBANOV DEMOTED TO MINISTER

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Vladimir Alexeev Trud, February 21, 2002, p. 5

Ilya Klebanov has been dismissed from the post of deputy prime minister, becoming the minister for industry, science and technology. According to analysts, there were several reasons for the Kremlin’s decision here

On Monday morning, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree submitted by the prime minister, appointing Ilya Klebanov minister for industry, science and technology – thus dismissing him from the post of deputy prime minister.

In addition, the former deputy prime minister was not included in the delegation to Ulyanovsk. Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov made a statement there which implied that at this time the number of deputy prime ministers in the Cabinet would be “limited to four positions… Time will tell if a further decrease or increase in number is needed.”

In his new position, Klebanov will handle issues of military development, as well as cooperating with the Defense Ministry in seeing to it that state arms procurement is on track. Klebanov is also responsible for the Industry and Science Ministry. Officially, this move by the Kremlin is explained by problems in keeping track of the situation in industry, as well as lack of state attention to basic and applied research. In addition to his tasks as a minister, Klebanov was appointed deputy head of the committee on military-technical cooperation. The new appointment rules out any question of Klebanov supervising the Railroads Ministry, the Nuclear Energy Ministry and the Communication Ministry. Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov will now have to deal with all that.

Meanwhile, many analysts are pointing to some other reasons for Klebanov’s dismissal. They say that by a strange coincidence the dismissal happened exactly after Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov reported on progress in the investigation of the Kursk submarine disaster. Ustinov rejected the theory of a collision with a foreign submarine – which Ilya Klebanov and Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Kuroedov had constantly supported.

Another substantial reason for Klebanov’s dismissal may have been the failed talks in New Delhi recently, after which the Indian government announced that it would prefer to purchase military hardware from the United States.

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