Vladimir Putin cements power as Russian Duma votes for new PM candidate

Updated: Jan 17, 2020, 16:10 IST | Agencies | Moscow

Mikhail Mishustin, the chief of Russia's tax service, met with lawmakers from various factions in the State Duma ahead of the confirmation vote in the Kremlin-controlled lower house

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) with PM candidate Mikhail Mishustin in Moscow on Thursday. Pic /AFP
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) with PM candidate Mikhail Mishustin in Moscow on Thursday. Pic /AFP

Moscow: Russian lawmakers are set to quickly approve the appointment of a new prime minister on Thursday, a day after President Vladimir Putin kicked off an unexpected reshuffle of his inner circle that could keep him in power well past the end of his term in 2024. Mikhail Mishustin, the chief of Russia's tax service, met with lawmakers from various factions in the State Duma ahead of the confirmation vote in the Kremlin-controlled lower house. Mishustin vowed to focus on social issues and improve living standards.

"We have all the necessary resources to fulfil the goals set by the president. The president wants the Cabinet to spearhead economic growth and help create new jobs. Raising real incomes is a priority for the government," he said. Mishustin would succeed Dmitry Medvedev, a Putin associate who was Russia's prime minister for eight years. Medvedev resigned hours after Putin proposed sweeping changes to the constitution.

Under Medvedev, the constitution was amended to extend the presidential term from four years to six, although it limits the leader to two consecutive terms. Putin has kept his longtime ally Medvedev in his close circle, appointing him to the newly created post of deputy head of the presidential Security Council. The 53-year-old Mishustin is a career bureaucrat who has worked as the tax chief for the past 10 years, keeping a low profile and showing no political ambitions.

He has won a good reputation among experts who praised him for boosting tax collection and streamlining Russia's rigid tax administration system. The reshuffle
sent shock waves through Russia's political, who were left pondering about Putin's intentions.

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