Russia faces to watch: Vyacheslav Volodin


The BBC looks at some of the key figures emerging in Russia's political scene.

Vyacheslav Volodin

Mr Volodin is widely considered one of the country's most influential and ambitious hardliners.

He is a deputy prime minister and the government's chief of staff, and as such is the brains behind Vladimir Putin's presidential election campaign.

Mr Volodin took over from one of the leading architects of Russia's current political system, Vladislav Surkov, who was known as the "grey cardinal" of Russian politics.

Mr Volodin rarely gives interviews, and is considered by many political commentators as less flexible and intellectual than his predecessor.

His job is to get Mr Putin re-elected, and observers say he has been trying to soften Mr Putin's image ahead of the vote.

Mr Volodin started his political career as a bureaucrat in his native Saratov region in the early 1990s.

He became a deputy governor in 1996 and was elected in 1999 to the Duma (lower house of parliament) as a member of the regional Fatherland-All Russia, soon becoming its chairman. When the block merged with the ruling United Russia party in 2005, he became one of the new party's leading figures.

In 2010, he became deputy prime minister in charge of government administration and in December 2011, he became deputy head of the presidential administration.