Russia: Key figures

Content Type
Country Data and Maps
Economist Intelligence Unit
No abstract is available.
Politics, Background, Forecast, Key players to watch
Political Geography

Vladimir Putin

Mr Putin remains at the centre of politics, having moved back to the presidency in May 2012. Even during his time as prime minister in 2008-12, he was still highly influential, although he was formally subordinate to the president. He played a leading role in running economic affairs and retained a role in security policy. Following the annexation of Crimea, polls suggest that Mr Putin continues to enjoy high levels of public support, although his rating has slipped slightly in recent months. Mr Putin continues to be the key arbiter between factions within the ruling elite. His centrality to the political system was underlined in March 2015 when he unexpectedly disappeared from public view for ten days, triggering feverish speculation as to his whereabouts. Mr Putin is likely to run for a further six-year term in the presidential election in 2018, and to win easily. Speculation over the timing and mechanism of an eventual transition in power will rise soon after his election.

Sergei Shoigu

Mr Shoigu was appointed minister of defence in November 2012. He is seen as a loyal and competent technocrat, having served for almost two decades as head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations. He was a founding member of the United party, which became the ruling United Russia. He has a longer political biography than almost all of Mr Putin's inner circle; during Mr Putin's first two terms he was one of the few officials, other than the president, to enjoy significant public recognition and trust. Russia's ongoing military reform means that Mr Shoigu must contend with powerful vested interests. However, his task will be made easier by government pledges to increase military spending. Should he successfully carry this through, he could be a potential prime ministerial, or even presidential, contender. Mr Shoigu's standing has been further boosted by Russia's military operation to bolster the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Alexei Kudrin

Mr Kudrin was appointed minister of finance in May 2001, and reappointed in 2004 and 2008. In 2007 he also served as deputy prime minister. Helped by high commodity prices, he played a vital role in replacing the large budget deficits of the mid-1990s with surpluses, and in paying down large amounts of foreign debt. Mr Kudrin also oversaw improvements in the tax system and established the Stabilisation Fund to save oil windfall revenue. He was dismissed from the government after he clashed with Dmitry Medvedev, who was the then president, in September 2011 over levels of military spending. Mr Kudrin subsequently participated in opposition protests in late 2011 and 2012, but was believed to have retained close ties with Mr Putin. In April 2015 he was appointed deputy head of the Presidential Economic Council, and has been charged with formulating a package of reforms to revive the economy. His proposals are likely to encounter strong resistance, but we believe Mr Kudrin's appointment represents an assurance that the government remains committed to the basic principles of a market economy and to fiscal consolidation.

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