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Friday, March 14, 2008

Medvedev Ally in Key Rosneft Job

March 14, 2008 – Reuters – A close ally of President-elect Dmitry Medvedev has been nominated for the board of state oil giant Rosneft, a first signal that Medvedev is seeking to install his people in key posts. The Federal Property Fund has proposed its head, Yury Petrov, Medvedev's former teacher at Leningrad State University, for the Rosneft board, a property fund spokesman and Rosneft said. A Kremlin source said the nomination was intended "to put his name on the map," adding, "So one should not exclude he would go much higher." Rosneft is chaired by a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, Kremlin deputy chief of staff Igor Sechin. Sechin is a highly influential figure and the informal leader of a faction of former KGB officers within the government. This faction has clashed with a more liberal camp within the Kremlin, in which Medvedev has been a leading figure. Sechin is expected to leave the presidential administration when Medvedev takes over but keep his Rosneft role. Vedomosti reported Thursday that Petrov had been nominated specifically as Medvedev's counterweight to Sechin's power within Rosneft. "It is part of the ongoing arrangements," a government source said about Petrov's appointment, referring to a widely expected government and presidential administration reshuffle following Medvedev's election victory this month. Putin has said he is willing to serve as Medvedev's prime minister after May 7, when Medvedev is sworn in as president. Political analysts and government sources say the two men are already working on how to split their responsibilities, with Medvedev being eager to bring in some of his allies. Putin and Medvedev say they will work harmoniously and respect the constitutional division of powers between president and prime minister. Political analysts and Kremlin watchers are eager for any news about Sechin's role after May, as they say it would provide guidance on whether Putin is in fact ceding power or whether Medvedev will stay in his shadow. Rosneft will hold a shareholders' meeting in June to elect a new board.

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