Former Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky was excluded from the new cabinet composed by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. While Medinsky’s former subordinate, Olga Lyubimova, took over his portfolio, the ex-minister became an aide to President Vladimir Putin. On January 27, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told journalists that in Medinsky’s new position, he will be charged with curating state policy on history and the humanities.
Medinsky ignited controversy during his time in Dmitry Medvedev’s cabinet in part because his advanced doctoral dissertation was found to contain numerous basic factual and analytical errors. Though the Higher Attestation Commission (VAK), which curates dissertation committees and rates already defended dissertations, voted to uphold Medinsky’s history degree in 2017, a number of critical academics lost their VAK posts in the fallout. Medinsky was also active in promoting Russian-produced films against their foreign counterparts.