MOSCOW, May 21 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin replaced a few unpopular ministers and appointed some Putin loyalists to the government's cabinet, officials said Monday.
Putin replaced Andrei Fursenko, the education and science minister who had been criticized in the media for his attempts to reform Russia's education system, and replaced him with
Dmitry Livanov, head of the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys, RIA Novosti reported.
The Health and Social Development Ministry, which had been headed by Tatiana Golikova, was split into the Health Ministry and the Labor and Social Welfare Ministry. Veronika Skvortsova, former deputy health and social development minister, will head the Health Ministry, and Maxim Topilin, former head of the Federal Labor and Employment Service, will head the Social Welfare Ministry.
The cabinet will expand from 19 to 21 members, and new additions include Viktor Ishayev, appointed Far East Development minister. Ishayev also will serve as Putin's envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District.
Mikhail Abysov was appointed Open Government Contacts minister, leading a project by ex-President and current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev designed to provide the government with better feedback from the population.
Putin also appointed Andrei Belousov as the new head of the Economic Development Ministry; former Chuvashia Gov. Nikolai Fyodorov as agriculture minister; Alexander Novak, head of the Energy Ministry; Maxim Sokolov, transportation minister; Nikolai Nikiforov, head of the Communications and Press Ministry; Oleg Govorun, head of the Regional Development Ministry; Denis Manturov, head of the Industry and Trade Ministry; Dmitry Donskoi, head of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry; Vladimir Puchkov, Emergency Situations minister; and Vladimir Medinsky, culture minister.
Alexander Konovalov will remain justice, sports and tourism minister, andVitaly Mutko will stay on as youth policy minister.