Russia's deputy prime minister resigns

Thursday 09 May 2013 00.19
Vladislav Surkov was once Mr Putin's top political adviser
Vladislav Surkov was once Mr Putin's top political adviser

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov has been forced to resign in a power struggle between the Kremlin and the government.

His departure is a blow to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

The Kremlin said in a statement that President Vladimir Putin had accepted Mr Surkov's resignation.

Mr Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Mr Surkov resigned after the president criticised cabinet members yesterday for failing to fulfil his orders.

"It's of his own volition," presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "It's to do with the fact that decrees were not carried out."

Mr Surkov was once President Putin's top political adviser.

He was seen by the opposition as responsible for helping concentrate power in the president's hands.

Mr Surkov left the Kremlin in December 2011 and has been in charge of innovation in the government.

He clashed this week with the head of Russia's investigative committee, an equivalent of the FBI, over an investigation into corruption at Skolkovo, a state-owned innovation hub created by Mr Medvedev.

The committee is looking into embezzlement at the centre, which Mr Medvedev created to try to diversify the oil-dependent economy.

There has been media speculation that Mr Medvedev and Mr Putin have fallen out over Russia's economic problems.