Russian opposition figures have raised questions about how Vladimir Putin’s surprise election for the new prime minister has acquired property worth millions of dollars.
Meanwhile, Russian President’s allies rushed to support Mikhail Mishustin, the former head of the Russian tax service, who claimed to have been stunned and “no [to have] I slept all night ”after Putin named him as the replacement for Dmitry Medvedev.
Supporters have praised Mishustin’s credentials as a technocrat and a “self-made man.” Mishustin was confirmed in the post by the Russian parliament on Thursday and is the country’s first prime minister since 2012.
Mishustin’s appointment is part of a radical reorganization of the Russian government that will help Putin maintain power after his planned departure from the presidency in 2024 under term limits. Analysts said Mishustin could play a role as a “caretaker” figure, but it was unlikely that he was Putin’s long-term successor.
Putin’s opponents have begun to investigate Mishustin’s record. Shortly after his nomination, the Proekt research site reported, state property records began to hide Mishustin’s name in relation to a house in the elegant Rublyovka district of Moscow, as well as an apartment in the center of Moscow. Proekt estimated the value of the properties at almost $ 10 million (£ 7.6 million). The owner now figures as the Russian government, common for properties denoted as secret.
Investigators Alexei Navalny, the opposition politician and anti-corruption investigator, said Mishustin’s wife had won almost 790 million rubles (almost £ 10 million) in the last nine years, according to government statements. Little is known about his business and there are no companies listed in his name, the research group said.
“Mishustin has been a” servant of the people “for 20 of the past 22 years,” Navalny wrote in the investigation. “So why is he so damn rich?”
Corruption scandals harassed Medvedev in recent years, helping to provoke protests by young Muscovites in 2017, and the Kremlin expects Mishustin’s record as a technocrat to protect him from similar attacks. Strict laws limit the official earnings of Russian government officials, but not so much their families.
Mishustin served as head of the Russian investment company UFG from 2008-10 and as head of laboratory for a non-profit organization in the early 1990s. He first joined the Russian tax service in 1998 and He was appointed chief in 2010.
Putin’s allies, including those considered his potential successor, also stayed behind Mishustin. He “knows how to balance the interests of business and the state,” said Alexei Kudrin, a former finance minister seen as a liberal ally of Putin.
“The school of life has been difficult for this man and is capable of great missions,” said Vyacheslav Volodin, the president of the Russian parliament, adding that Mishustin was a “self-made man.”