Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 13

On March 19, President Putin signed a decree creating a new presidential Information Department, which is to be integrated into the Kremlin administration. Receiving a promotion to be the head of this new department was the Kremlin’s chief spokesman for issues relating to Chechnya, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, who stressed that the new department will continue to provide “information support for the antiterrorism operation in Chechnya” (Itar-Tass, March 19). The size of Yaztrzhembsky’s staff was increased from seven to fifteen (, March 20). In comments made to the press, Yastrzhembsky “gave to understand that Vladimir Putin had been dissatisfied with his PR specialists and was demanding an immediate improvement in image–both his personal image and that of the [Russian] state” (Kommersant, March 21).