Inside Russia's White House

Issue Number: 
The Russia Journal

Andrei Shapovalyants Economics Minister :

Andrei Shapovalyants was born in Moscow in 1952. He graduated from the Moscow Plekhanov Institute of Economy in 1974 and stayed there to work at the institute's economy department until 1979. He then worked at the State Committee for Planning (Gosplan) from 1979 to 1991, achieving the rank of head of the Finance and Prices Department.

In 1991, Shapovalyants went to work for the Economic Ministry, and was soon appointed deputy minister of the economy. By 1998, Shapovalyants ascended to the position of first deputy economy minister. On September 25, 1998, the president appointed Shapovalyants economics minister.

Andrei Chernenko Minister Without Portfolio Head of Government Apparatus :

Andrei Chernenko was born in the city of Khabarovsk in 1953. He worked as a journalist on a number of provincial newspapers before moving to Moscow in 1978, where he also worked as a journalist while studying at the prestigious Moscow State University Department of Journalism.

Having taken a course at the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) Central Committee's Academy of Social Sciences during 1986 to 1987, he then worked as a sub-editor at Pravda, then the official newspaper of the CPSU.

Chernenko moved to the Interior Ministry's public relations center in 1991 at the invitation of Interior Minister Valentin Barannikov. The next year, Chernenko followed Barannikov to the security ministry, first running its PR center and then becoming deputy security minister.

It was in the Interior Ministry that Chernenko met Sergei Stepashin. Following Barannikov's dismissal under scandalous circumstances, Chernenko worked at the Russian Committee for Press and then the Nationalities Ministry, where he went on to become first deputy minister in 1997.

The same year, Chernenko returned to the Interior Ministry at newly appointed Interior Minister Stepashin's request, heading its PR center and human resources department until this year, when he was appointed deputy interior minister.

On May 25, 1999, immediately following Stepashin's appointment as prime minister, Chernenko assumed the post of minister without portfolio and head of the government apparatus.

Igor Sergeev Defense Minister :

Igor Sergeev was born in Ukraine in 1938. He enrolled in the Higher Naval School of the Black Sea Fleet. Upon graduation in 1960, he went to work for the Soviet Missile Corps.

From 1971 until 1992, Sergeev occupied high positions in the missile corps and then in the corps' General Headquarters, combining active-duty service with studies at the Military-Engineering Academy and the General Headquarters Military Academy. From 1992 to 1997, Sergeev was Supreme Commander of Russia's Strategic Missile Corps.

On May 22, 1997, the president appointed Sergeev defense minister. Many consider him a representative of the defense-industry lobby.

Igor Ivanov Foreign Minister :

Igor Ivanov was born in Moscow in 1945. He graduated from the Morris Torez Moscow Institute of Foreign Languages in 1969 and worked in the Soviet Foreign Ministry's European Department until 1973.

From 1973 to 1983, Ivanov carried out Foreign Ministry assignments in Spain, returning to Russia in 1983 as assistant ambassador. From 1983 to 1991, Ivanov served in positions of authority in the Soviet Foreign Ministry. Ivanov was Russia's Ambassador to Spain from 1991 to 1993. In the next five years, he achieved the ranks of deputy foreign minister and first deputy foreign minister.

President Boris Yeltsin appointed Ivanov foreign minister in September 1998.

Ivanov's career is closely connected with former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov.

Mikhail Kasyanov Finance Minister :

Mikhail Kasyanov was born in the town of Solntsevo (now a district of Moscow) in 1957. He graduated from the Moscow Automotive and Road Engineering Institute in 1976, having majored in construction engineering. He spent three years working as an engineer for the State Construction Ministry.

The State Planning Committee's Department of External Economic Ties invited Kasyanov to work in 1989, which he duly did for one year. From 1991, Kasyanov served in a series of management positions in the Economy Ministry's Department of External Economic Ties.

In 1993, Kasyanov was appointed head of the Finance Ministry's Foreign Credit and Foreign Debt Department. In 1995, he became deputy finance minister, and first deputy finance minister in February 1999.

On May 26, 1999, the president appointed Kasyanov finance minister.

An acknowledged expert in foreign credit and foreign debt issues, Kasyanov is said to be an ally of former First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais.

Pavel Krasheninnikov Justice Minister :

Pavel Krasheninnikov was born in the Urals in 1964. He worked as a teacher at the Sverdlovsk Institute of Law.

In 1993, Krasheninnikov moved to Moscow at the invitation of the Russian State Committee on Construction. In the same year, he moved to the Justice Ministry, occupying positions of authority there until 1996.

In 1996 and 1997, Krasheninnikov served as deputy chairman of the State Anti-Monopoly Committee, and in 1997, he returned to the Justice Ministry, taking the post of first deputy minister. In 1998, Krasheninnikov became justice minister. He is devoted to Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin.

Valentina Matviyenko Deputy Prime Minister for Social Affairs :

Valentina Matviyenko entered the government in autumn 1998 at Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov's invitation, and has kept her position as deputy prime minister for social affairs in Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin's new government.

Matviyenko was able to hold onto her Cabinet seat because of a demonstrated loyalty to the new team, extensive connections in the parliament, the lack of volunteers for her "suicidal" post, and the fact that consensus says there must be a woman in government.

Matviyenko began to work for the Communist Party after graduating from the Leningrad Chemistry and Pharmaceutics Institute in 1972. She spent 16 years as a senior official in local and municipal Young Communist League and Communist Party establishments in Leningrad.

Elected to the Soviet Union Supreme Council in 1989, Matviyenko assumed chairmanship over the committee for women, family, motherhood and child protection. It was during this time that Matviyenko met Primakov, at whose proposal she took and mastered advanced training courses for senior diplomatic staff, run by the Foreign Ministry's Diplomatic Academy.

From 1991 until her appointment in the government, Matviyenko served first as Russian Ambassador to Malta, then to Greece, and then as head of the Foreign Ministry's department for relations with federation subjects and the parliament.

Matviyenko's co-workers characterize her as a tough and exacting boss. She is known to be one of Primakov's proteges.

Vladimir Rushailo Interior Minister :

Vladimir Rushailo was born in 1953 and entered a police academy from which he graduated in 1980 specializing in law.

Beginning in 1984, Rushailo held various commanding

positions in law enforcement. He supervised the Interior Ministry's monitoring of Soviet hard-currency stores and was involved in combatting organized crime.

Rushailo was appointed head of the Chief Police Department's Organized Crime Control Service (DOCC) in 1992. In 1993, he participated in establishing a new division within the Interior Ministry: the Main DOCC. He then served as chief of a Moscow district DOCC, deputy chief, then as first deputy chief of the Chief DOCC.

Following the assassination of television newsman Vladislav Listyev in 1994, Rushailo attempted unsuccessfully to perform a search at influential billionaire tycoon Boris Berezovsky's residence. He later worked with Berezovsky on hostage crises in Chechnya.

In 1996, Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov dismissed Rushailo with no explanation, after which Rushailo worked as legal adviser for Federation Council Speaker Egor Stroev.

In May 1998, Rushailo became first deputy interior minister. At the time, it was rumored that he organized a successful operation to free presidential representative Valentin Vlasov from Chechen hostage-takers.

He was appointed interior minister in May 1999.

Rushailo's co-workers describe him as a tough and talented manager. He is currently said to be closely linked to Berezovsky.

Vyacheslav Mikhailov Minister for Regional and National Politics :

Vyacheslav Mikhailov was born in 1938 in the Volgograd Region. Upon graduating from Lvov State University, he pursued a teaching career. He worked at the Marxism-Leninism Institute of the CPSU Central Committee from 1987 to 1990 and then became head of the National Politics Department of the Central Committee. From 1991 to 1993, he headed the center for international problems and human rights.

From 1993 to 1995, he worked as deputy and then first deputy minister for federal and national affairs. He served as minister of regional and national politics from 1995 to 1996, when he also acted as head of the Russian delegation in negotiations with Chechnya. In May 1999, the president appointed him minister of regional and national politics. Mikhailov's loyalties lie with President Boris Yeltsin.