Russian President Vladimir Putin named a new cabinet comprised of loyalists, in a further sign of his iron grip on the country's political landscape.
The former KGB strongman maneuvered key allies into prominent posts, naming heavy-handed Moscow police chief, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, as interior minister. Kolokoltsev had come down hard on anti-Putin protestors in recent weeks.
Putin also signaled his intent to continue the foreign policy and military tone set by his predecessor, prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, by leaving Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov in place.
Putin ally Igor Shuvalov remains first deputy prime minister in charge of economic policy. Other key appointments included Finance Minister Anton Siluanov and pro-Putin economist Andrei Belousov, who took over as economy minister.
Work will be difficult, given the ... situation in the world economy, Putin told a meeting in the Kremlin, Reuters reported.
The moves to tighten his grip on the economic and energy policies will further limit Medvedev's ability to pursue market reforms.
After facing widespread protests against his re-election last month, Putin will also have a tough time balancing the drive to privatize the economy and reduce Russia's dependence on oil and gas exports.
The appointment of Kolokoltsev is a further sign that Putin intends to ignore protestors who demanded a more open political system after 12 years of his rule, which was recently extended by an additional six years.