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New Russian cabinet packed with Putin loyalists

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Yesterday the Kremlin announced the new cabinet lineup. It included few fresh faces, despite Mr. Medvedev's earlier promises of "substantial renewal" in the government he is set to lead.

Most of the key "power ministries" will remain in familiar hands. They include Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who has proven to be a skillful advocate for Russian policy amid turmoil in the Middle East and acrimony with the West over issues like missile defense.

Also returning is Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who oversaw a sweeping organizational reform of Russia's armed forces and will now be tasked with implementing Putin's ambitious, nearly $1 trillion plan to modernize the military with new weaponry 

The unpopular interior minister, Rashid Nurgaliyev, who has faced severe criticism over corruption in police ranks and other abuses in law enforcement, has been given a new job in the Kremlin's Security Council. He will be replaced as minister by Moscow Police Chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev, who won Putin's approval with his efficient handling of mass protests that have rocked the Russian capital over the past few months.

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