Yury Panasik provided extensive commentary on the appointment of Dmitry Patrushev as the new Minister of Agriculture

July 12, 2018
"Agroinvestor" magazine quotes Kesarev Partner Yury Panasik, who considers that this appointment has political and economic logic related to the priorities of the agricultural sector's development in Russia.

The political logic is that the presence of Agricultural Minister Alexander Tkachev in the post was "temporary". His transition to the federal government from the position of the governor of the Krasnodar Region in 2015 was needed to ensure a stable transit of power in the strategically-important region for the federal leadership after the Sochi Olympics of 2014.

"The presidential elections in March 2018 and formation of the new government lifted the moral obligations to Tkachev," Panasik said. Herewith, the former minister remained an incomprehensible and unpredictable player for the federal elites. Also, it cannot be said that Tkachev managed to become a person close to the federal interest groups, even though in some sense he was an acceptable and comfortable head of Ministry for the largest market participants".
The approaches to personnel policy defined on the federal level predetermined who the new minister would be. Panasik draws attention to the fact that both previous experience in the formation of the governmental leadership and its updated composition show several trends.

Firstly, the Ministry could be headed by a representative of a sphere or an industry which is regulated by it: as an example, proving this approach, Tkachev led a large agro-industrial region.

Secondly, a professional manager, a technocrat, not necessarily closely related to the overseen industry, but preferably with financial management experience could head the Ministry. It should be a person who can assess and ensure the effectiveness of state support measures. This approach, according to Panasik, is especially typical for sectors with budgetary infusions that are tangible for the state. For example, the Defense Ministry was headed by civilian minister Anatoly Serdyukov, the Ministry of Healthcare was headed by Tatyana Golikova, who moved there from the Ministry of Finance and who now, as Deputy Prime Minister, also oversees the social sector.

"With regard to the agro-industrial complex, a combined approach has been implemented. Gordeev, with extensive experience in the agro-industrial complex and having experience in managing a region with a significant weight of agriculture in the regional economy, became a profile Deputy Prime Minister. Patrushev, coming from the financial unit, took the minister's position," Panasik noted. "Under Tkachev, there was the opposite combination: the minister was a person closely connected with the agricultural sector, while Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, who supervised the agro-industrial complex, was a technocrat with an economic background."

Yury Panasik believes that since Gordeyev became Deputy Prime Minister, and Sergei Dankvert, head of the Rosselkhoznadzor, retains his position, these people with a lot of bureaucratic experience, in some sense, can insure the new minister.

In the future observing the dynamics of interaction between the high-profile of Deputy Prime Minister – taking into account his experience – and the new minister will be an interesting exercise, said Panasik. Probably, Gordeev will be closely "patronizing" the activities of the Ministry of Agriculture, especially in the early days, he suggests. "For the new minister, priority will be given to issues of control and ensuring the effectiveness of state support measures for the agro-industrial complex, primarily control of the financial and budgetary plan," Panasik says.

The position of the Minister of Agriculture looks like a test for Dmitry Patrushev. If successful, he can expect to be promoted to the level of a Deputy Prime Minister, Yury Panasik believes.