MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin revealed the makeup of Russia’s new Cabinet of ministers Monday, after repeated delays that sparked speculation that Kremlin power groupings were fighting over key positions.
The list was notable for the absence of several Putin-era heavyweights, and included many new names, though none of them high profile or known to be proponents of radical change.
The most significant player to leave the Cabinet is Deputy Prime Minister Igor I. Sechin, considered the leader of a group known as the siloviki, powerful Putin allies who once served in Russia’s security and intelligence services.
Also exiting are three unpopular ministers who are widely blamed for corruption or poor management: Health Minister Tatyana Golikova, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, and Education Minister Andrei A. Fursenko.
The new government grants a broad portfolio to Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, a close aide to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev who is seen as one of the most liberal and Western-oriented of Russia’s senior officials. Dvorkovich will oversee industry, including energy, transport, and agriculture, reported the daily newspaper Vedomosti last week, citing unnamed Kremlin officials.
Medvedev has also selected, as his chief of staff, the veteran political operative Vladislav Y. Surkov, who played a key role in concentrating power in the Kremlin but recently began advocate more open political competition.
The return of Surkov, absent from the political arena for many months, strengthens Medvedev’s hand as he adjusts to a more vulnerable position after four years as president. In the past, both prime ministers and Cabinet members have been removed swiftly when a political or economic crisis has aroused a public demand for change.
A number of Putin-era heavyweights will remain in the Cabinet, including Foreign Minister Sergei V. Lavrov, Defense Minister Anatoly E. Serdyukov, and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. Igor I. Shuvalov, a Putin ally, will stay on as first deputy prime minister.
Putin announced earlier this month that he would skip a planned trip to the United States for a meeting of the Group of Eight because he would be busy finalizing the new government.
In his remarks Monday, Putin hinted that the Cabinet would not have an easy time of it.
“I want to wish you success in the difficult situation in which the world economy finds itself, in a situation of uncertainty with many unknown factors,’’ he said.
Among the first to comment publicly on the new Cabinet was former finance minister Alexei L. Kudrin, a close Putin ally who was forced to resign after he told reporters he would not serve under Medvedev. Kudrin warned that the new government will face “difficult, and somewhat thankless work.’’