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New bureaucratic appintment may signal increase in church influence
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A personnel question in the presidential administration has been resolved with a candidate for the post of deputy head of the Administration for Domestic Policy who will supervise public and religious organizations. He is the head of the Department for Humanitarian Policy and Public Relations of the presidential administration, Ivan Demidov. The post has been vacant for more than a year. Experts think that there will not be any changes in principle in relations between the state and public organizations, but the role of the church may be strengthened.

The new deputy to the head of the Administration for Domestic Policy, Oleg Govorun, is the former host of the "Muzoboz" program, Ivan Demidov. "" learned this from a source close to the presidential administration. Demidov confirmed the fact of his appointment.

As the source told "," the decision was made on Friday. Before this Demidov occupied the position of head of the Department for Humanitarian Policy and Public Relations. In the new post he will continue to oversee the activity of public associations. In addition, religious organizations will also fall within the competence of the bureaucrat.

Previously this area was covered by Mikhail Ostrovsky, but he was dismissed from the administration more than a year ago, and thereafter the position remained vacant.

"Now he will oversee this department," persons surrounding Demidov told ""

Information that Ostrovsky's place may be given to the head of the Department for Humanitarian Policy appeared back at the beginning of last year, immediately after Ostrovsky's departure. At the time the post of the person responsible for humanitarian policy of the Kremlin was occupied by Anton Malyshev. Demidov was appointed in his place in April 2009.

"During his time working here he has shown success and has been able to establish relations with public organizations and confessions," a former member of the presidential administration, Aleksei Chesnakov, said, commenting on Demidov's success. Demidov's political career began to develop actively in 2005. At the time he agreed to join the staff of the supervision of the youth organization of the party of power, "Young Guard." In 2008 Demidov became director of the ideological administration of the political department of the central executive committee of "United Russia." And a year later he transferred to work in the administration.

The general director of the Center for Political Information, Aleksei Mukhin, thinks that with the new appointment in relations of the administration with public organization, the role of the Russian Orthodox church may be strengthened. (Demidov was the chief editor of the Orthodox channel "Savior.") However, in Mukhin's opinion, one should to expect fundamental changes in the work of the administration. "The appointment is the results of the efforts of Demidov himself. For a long time he has occupied himself with this theme; it is close to him and clear. Surely he has a clear vision of its future work, and in the near future we will hear about this," the expert suggests.

(tr. by PDS, posted 27 April 2010)