Mikhail Mishustin, a former little-known fiscal official both outside and inside Russian political circles, will become the nation’s new prime minister, as he received support from the ruling party on Thursday morning.
Mishustin has been carefully selected by President Vladimir Putin will oversee a new government, charged with implementing a series of constitutional reforms that could cause the Russian president to remain in power in some way after his term expires in 2024.
Wednesday’s surprising resignation of the entire Russian government followed Putin’s calls for widespread reforms to Russia’s power structures, and former Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the president deserved to have the kind of government he wanted while they were being implemented. The reforms.
Medvedev will remain in office until his successor officially assumes, when Putin’s former ally will begin a new position in charge of defense and security in the influential Security Council of Russia.
The government resigns when Putin plans his future (2:31)
Some analysts suggest that Putin, 67, who is two years in his fourth presidential term and has led the country since 1999, could be laying the groundwork for assuming a new position or remaining in a powerful role behind the scenes.
It is not clear whether Mishustin, a technocrat whose recent career revolved around the tax service, is a temporary placeholder or could be prepared as Putin’s successor.
But his approval was imminent after the United Russia party, which has 75 percent of the seats in the lower house of the Russian parliament, gave its support Thursday morning.
“We decided to unanimously support the candidacy suggested by our national leader for the post of head of government,” the head of the United Russia parliamentary faction Sergei Neverov told reporters.
Lawmakers will discuss and vote for Mishustin’s nomination in a plenary session at 11:00 GMT.
‘Stay number one’
In his speech on the state of the nation, Putin said he wanted the president to transfer more authority to Parliament, including the power to elect the prime minister and cabinet members.
He also requested that the power of the State Council, an advisory body, be expanded and enshrined in the constitution, which adds to the conjecture that Putin could assume power after 2024 to preserve power.
Outlining the proposals, which would be the first significant changes in the country’s constitution since its adoption in 1993, Putin said there was a “demand for change” among the Russians.
He was scheduled to meet Thursday with a newly created working group to develop constitutional amendments.
A list of more than 70 names that join the group published by the Kremlin includes conservative public figures, as well as celebrities such as actor Vladimir Mashkov and pianist Denis Matsuev.
Independent political analyst Maria Lipman said the ads indicated that Putin wanted to “remain the number one in the country, without competitors.”
She said he could be deliberately weakening the presidency before resigning.
Russia’s opposition also said the proposals indicate Putin’s desire to remain in power.
Opposition leader Alexei Navalny said on Twitter that Putin’s only goal was “to remain the only leader for life.”
Once Mishustin, 53, is appointed, he will have a week to propose a new government and ministers.
He told United Russia that some changes would be made to the cabinet but did not give further details, legislator Viktor Vodolatsky told Interfax.
Mishustin, former head of an investment group that trained as an engineer, has a PhD in economics and has directed the Russian Federal Tax Service since 2010.
He shares Putin’s love for hockey and has been seen in matches with security service officials.
Former opposition legislator Gennadiy Gudkov called Mishustin “a new official without ambition and without ambition” who embodies a system that is “detrimental to the economy.”