Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, widely tipped as a possible successor to President Vladimir Putin, is to be appointed as prime minister soon, the Vedomosti daily said Wednesday quoting a Kremlin source.
"Sergei Ivanov could be appointed prime minister very shortly, a source close to the presidential administration said yesterday. The issue is practically decided," the daily wrote.
According to Vedomosti's sources, "Ivanov's position has been strengthened since the summer, many would place their bets on him."
The daily pointed to Ivanov's high media ratings as a further sign of his imminent promotion.
Like Putin, Ivanov once worked in the KGB security service, and served as Russia's defence minister before being appointed to his current role of overseeing industrial reforms.
Vedomosti quoted another Kremlin source as saying that "rumours that Ivanov will be appointed prime minister may only be priming public opinion for his taking one of the top posts."
Putin, who is set to step down next year, was propelled into the presidency in 2000 after having been appointed prime minister the year before.