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Putin shake-up could keep him in power past 2024 as cabinet steps aside

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Putin shake-up could keep him in power past 2024 as cabinet steps aside

By Andrew Osborn and Vladimir Soldatkin

 

2020-01-15T135239Z_2_LYNXMPEG0E11J_RTROPTP_4_RUSSIA-PUTIN.JPG

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow, Russia January 15, 2020. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

 

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed constitutional changes on Wednesday that would give him scope to extend his grip on power after leaving the presidency, and picked a new prime minister after Dmitry Medvedev and his cabinet stepped down.

 

Most importantly, Putin suggested diminishing the powers of the presidency and beefing up those of the prime minister.

 

The dramatic moves were widely seen as preparing the ground for 2024, when Putin, now 67, is obliged to leave the presidency after occupying the Kremlin or the prime minister's job continuously since 1999.

 

Putin nominated Mikhail Mishustin, 53-year-old head of the tax service, as the next prime minister. Mishustin, who will be quizzed by parliament on Thursday, has played ice hockey with Putin but has little public profile and had not been spoken of as a possible candidate.

 

He will inevitably be viewed as a possible successor to a shrunken presidency, as will members of his cabinet, many of whom are expected to be new to government.

 

Critics have long accused Putin, a former KGB officer, of plotting to stay on in some capacity after his term ends to wield power over the world's largest nation - and one of its two biggest nuclear powers.

 

His proposals, which he suggested should be put to a referendum, would give him the option of taking an enhanced role as prime minister after 2024 or a new role as head of the State Council, an official body he said he was keen to build up. He could even become speaker of a new, supercharged parliament.

 

Opposition politician Leonid Volkov said it looked as though Putin was digging in.

 

'LEGAL COUP'

"It's clear to everyone that everything is going exclusively towards setting Putin up to rule for life," he wrote on social media.

 

Dmitry Gudkov, another opposition politician, said Putin, re-elected last year for his fourth term, had decided to re-arrange everything around him now rather than wait until closer to 2024.

 

"Constitutional coups like this occur and are completely legal," wrote Gudkov.

 

Under the current constitution, which sets a maximum of two successive terms, Putin is barred from immediately running again, but his supporters find it hard to imagine Russian political life without him.

 

It was unclear when a referendum on the changes might be held or when the changes could take effect, but Putin told the political elite in his annual state-of-the-nation speech that he wanted the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, to have the power to choose the prime minister and other key positions.

 

"It would increase the role and significance of the country's parliament ... of parliamentary parties, and the independence and responsibility of the prime minister," he said.

 

Hours after Putin set out the changes in his annual state-of-the-nation speech, Medvedev said he was stepping down as prime minister to give Putin room to carry out his plans.

 

Putin thanked Medvedev, a longtime ally, for what he had achieved, adding, perhaps with an eye on complaints about Russia's listless economy: "Not everything worked out of course - but then, nothing ever works out totally."

 

Putin said Medvedev would take on a new job as deputy head of Russia's Security Council, which Putin chairs.

 

DOMESTIC AGENDA

Putin remains popular with many Russians who see him as a welcome source of stability, even as others complain that he has been in power for too long, that their pensions and standard of living are being steadily eroded, and that poverty is widespread and healthcare poor.

 

Dmitri Trenin, head of the Moscow Carnegie Center, said Putin appeared to be moving to limit the power of a presidential successor.

 

Trenin also tweeted: "Mikhail #Mishustin’s elevation to Russia's PM is designed to get more competent leadership in Cabinet, which will have to focus on all-important domestic agenda. Medvedev's career isn't over, Putin still needs him in transition scenario. He remains what he's always been: (Putin's) alter ego."

 

Medvedev's resignation took Russian markets by surprise. The rouble and stocks suffered sharp losses before rebounding to make gains amid the uncertainty.

 

"In a nutshell, we take this announcement as an attempt by Putin to shake up Russia's polity and refocus the administration on implementing the president's well-telegraphed but slowly progressing public spending program," Citi said in a note.

 

The rouble <RUBUTSTN=MCX> dropped to 61.81 to the dollar after the news reports about the government but soon regained ground to stand little changed at 1800 GMT.

 

Against the euro, the rouble briefly dropped to 68.86 <EURRUBTN=MCX>, but recovered to stand 0.3% higher at 68.58 by 1810.

 

The dollar-denominated RTS share index <.IRTS> fell 1% on the day minutes after the resignation reports, but rebounded to finish 0.17% lower. The rouble-based MOEX Russian share index <.IMOEX> closed up 0.1%.

 

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova, Tom Balmforth, Vladimir Soldatkin, Maria Tsvetkova, Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber, Polina Ivanova and Andrey Kuzmin; editing by Mike Collett-White and Kevin Liffey)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-01-16
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13 minutes ago, nobodysfriend said:

The american system shows that there is a mayor shift in policies everytime a new president becomes elected . That can become confusing to foreign partners in agreements still signed by the former president ... Putin at least is a reliable factor when it comes to ever changing policies ...


If it happens every time, how is it confusing? 
 

One would think that as it has (apparently) happened 44 times they would see it coming, yes?

 

 

Edited by mogandave
Added apparently
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5 hours ago, webfact said:

Putin shake-up could keep him in power past 2024 as cabinet steps aside

Any wonder why he is Trump's BFF

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5 hours ago, webfact said:

Putin nominated Mikhail Mishustin, 53-year-old head of the tax service, as the next prime minister. Mishustin, who will be quizzed by parliament on Thursday, has played ice hockey with Putin but has little public profile and had not been spoken of as a possible candidate.

 

He will inevitably be viewed as a possible successor to a shrunken presidency, as will members of his cabinet, many of whom are expected to be new to government.

This is probably the most interesting thing about this shuffle. As already ex-president Medvedev could have had too much power over the old Putin's clan after Putin steps down, if he steps down.

 

It's difficult to see how Putin can retire. What his status would be after the retirement? Senior President who has power over acting president?

 

 

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Putin got this idea from Xi. Trump will be doing lots of fantasizing on that possibility. 

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3 hours ago, nobodysfriend said:

The american system shows that there is a mayor shift in policies everytime a new president becomes elected . That can become confusing to foreign partners in agreements still signed by the former president ... Putin at least is a reliable factor when it comes to ever changing policies ...

And that's why the Russian economy is around the size of California's despite being similar sizes with equal natural resources. Women are far better looking than most yank ones though. 

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7 minutes ago, Eric Loh said:

Putin got this idea from Xi. Trump will be doing lots of fantasizing on that possibility. 

And Trump wishes it was so as well. 

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32 minutes ago, bendejo said:

Something like this happened in Singapore: the son took over for the father, but anyone with eyes could see papa was still holding the reigns.  If you mentioned it you'd probably get whipped.

 

 

You do know that Singapore has election every 4 years and a non Lee was PM for 8 years. No one gets whipped if they want to talk about it unless you have proper case to mention. 

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I suppose for a megalomaniac, it is hard to walk away from absolute power, and an additional tens of billions of dollars. 

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2 hours ago, Berkshire said:

Bizarre comment.  It's the same in all democracies throughout the world.  Dictatorships are only good for the dictator and his cronies, not so much for the common citizen.  

One could make that same argument for the Trump administration, when it comes to the common citizen (the lower 80%). The common man and the middle class is getting decimated in America. Nothing great about that, unless you are wealthy, or a corporation. My heart goes out to the average American. I spend time there, and only those making alot of money are happy with the way things are going. Sure, some are making some money on the grossly over inflated stock market. But, at what cost to the future of the nation and its people?

 

Edited by spidermike007
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2 hours ago, Eric Loh said:

Putin got this idea from Xi. Trump will be doing lots of fantasizing on that possibility. 

 

Did the late Mr. Lee do anything similar?

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