Kasyanov, Mikhail Mikhailovich

views updated


(b. 1957), prime minister of the Russian Federation.

Kasyanov graduated from the Moscow Automobile and Road Institute and worked for the State Construction Committee and Gosplan, State Planning Committee, from 1981 to 1990. He moved to the economics ministry, and in 1993 Boris Fyodorov brought him to the Finance Ministry to take charge of negotiations over Russia's foreign debts. Fluent in English, Kasyanov became deputy finance minister in 1995 and finance minister in May 1999. In January 2000 he was appointed first deputy prime minister under prime minister and acting president Vladimir Putin. Katyanov, praised by Putin as a "strong coordinator, " was named prime minister of the government in May 2000, winning easy confirmation from the State Duma in a vote of 325 to 55. The calm, gravel-voiced Kasyanov was seen as a figure with close ties to Boris Yeltsin's inner circlethe owners of large financial industrial groups.

Despite repeated rumors of his impending dismissal, Kasyanov was still in office in mid-2003. He oversaw cautious but substantial reforms in taxation and the legal system, but liberals criticized him for failing to tackle the "natural monopolies" of gas, electricity, and railways. This led to some embarrassing criticism from members of his own administration, such as economy minister German Gref and presidential economic advisor Andrei Illarionov, not to mention public admonition from President Putin in spring 2003 for failing to deliver more rapid economic growth. In Russia's super-presidential system, the job of prime minister is a notoriously difficult one. Although the prime minister has to be approved by the State Duma, once in office he answers only to the president, and has no independent power beyond that which he can accumulate through skillful administration and discreet political maneuvering.

See also: gosplan; putin, vladimir vladimirovich


Shevtsova, Lilia. (2003). Putin's Russia. Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Peter Rutland