Putin nominates tax chief for prime minister

Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed that Mikhail Mishustin, Head of the Federal Tax Service, should become the next prime minister. According to the official Kremlin website, he put forward the suggestion during a work meeting.

Mikhail Mishustin agreed to the proposal, and so Putin put forward Mishustin’s candidature for consideration by the State Duma.

A doctor of economics, Mikhail Mishustin is 53 years of age, and has headed the tax service for nearly 10 years. He is married with three children, and enjoys ice hockey.

As reported previously, Russia’s government resigned yesterday. The resignation was announced by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at a meeting with Putin after his address to the Federal Assembly.

In his state of the nation address, Putin proposed a number of changes to the current constitution which will radically change the country’s political system. Medvedev remarked that the proposed amendments would change the balance between executive, legislative and judicial government.

“In this context it is obvious that we, as the government of the Russian Federation, should give the president of our country an opportunity to make all the necessary decisions and, under these circumstances, I think that it would be correct according to Article 117 of the Russian Constitution for the government of the Russian Federation in its current composition to resign,” Medvedev said.

Putin thanked the government for its cooperation, “even though not everything worked out”. The Russian leader said that he would soon meet individually with each cabinet member. Until then, he asked them all to continue to do their duties.

The head of the Kremlin said that he intends to offer Medvedev the newly created post of deputy chairman of the Federation Council. In this position, Putin believes that Medvedev will be able to focus on matters of defense and security.

The resignation of the cabinet came as a surprise to Russian politicians and government officials. For example, members of the State Duma Council learned about it during its own session, at the same time that reports were appearing in the media, said the council’s first vice chairman Alexander Zhukov.

“In this regard, I don’t know any more than you do,” he told the press.

An acting federal minister told The Bell that nobody had suspected anything. “Like thunder in clear skies. Nothing since he morning foretold it, and in Manege at the address there wasn’t any indication either,” he explained.

Government sources also told Open Media that the government’s resignation had come as a surprise. According to one source, neither ministers nor department staff were aware of it. He added that in the morning they “prepared for a normal work day”.

However, State Duma Vice Chairman Pyotr Tolstoy said that the resignation would affect the dynamic of the implementation of the president’s state of the nation address. He pointed out that the address is directed at “all branches of government”. “We will work to implement it as quickly as possible,” he said.

Leonid Volkov, a politician and public figure who managed the election campaign of oppositionist Alexey Navalny during Russia’s 2018 presidential elections believes that “it all comes down exclusively to ensuring Putin’s lifelong rule, to continuing the stagnation. No other task is being dealt with now except to make Putin like the president of Kazakhstan”.

A similar position is held by the Reuters news agency. The resignation of the prime minister will give Putin an opportunity to make the necessary changes to the government’s structure so that he can “remain in power in a new capacity after his current term ends in 2024”.

  Russia, Medvedev, Putin

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