'The Great Kremlin Purge' - What are Putin's Intentions

Russian President Vladimir Putin named Tax Service chief Mikhail Mishustin the country's new Prime Minister, The Washington Post reports.

The political move came after Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev resigned alongside the rest of his Cabinet, causing a restructuring that was unquestionably ordered by Putin. The President is believed to be safeguarding his stay in office for another term before fashioning a long-lasting position for himself in the government.

Medvedev, Putin’s right-hand man, has served as PM since 2012. He previously served as President to ensure the transition of power would follow the constitutional guidelines, although permanently adhering to Putin and his authority.

Putin thanked Medvedev for his work as PM, although he demeaned his ministers, saying they had failed to fulfill their objectives in government, The Associated Press reports.

The State Department did not respond with a comment.

The bombshell government renovation came after Putin's anticipated constitutional amendments that will fortify the powers of the PM and Parliament at the expense of the presidency.

A switch of power from presidency to parliament could beckon a power shift that has been widely speculated about in Russia.

Putin's criticizers have suggested that he is considering various scenarios to retain control of the country after his presidential term ends in 2024, including the option of becoming prime minister with extended powers, like in 2008 when Putin swapped places with the prime minister to circumvent the constitutional provision mentioned above.

"[Putin] outlined a number of fundamental changes to the constitution, significant changes not only to a number of articles of the constitution, but also to the balance of power as a whole," Medvedev said in his resignation statement, which was publicized on Russian state television. "In this context, it's obvious that we, as the government ... should provide the president of our country with the opportunity to make all the decisions necessary for this. And in these conditions, I believe that it would be right, in accordance with Section 117 of the constitution, [for the government to resign]” Medvedev added.

Putin also commented on the commotion surrounding his regimented government ‘purge.’

"I propose ... entrusting the State Duma with the power to approve the candidacy of the Prime Minister, and then, per the prime minister's proposal, [appoint] all deputy prime ministers and federal ministers. […] In this case, the President will be obliged to appoint them, that is, he will not have the right to reject parliament-approved candidacies." Putin stated and confirmed the ordered constitutional reorganization.     

Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader, said that the "only goal of Putin and his regime [is to remain] the sole leader for life, taking ownership of an entire country, and appropriating wealth to himself and his friends.” Navalny added on twitter that “All those who said that Putin will step away from power in 2024 are idiots (and/or crooks)".

By Beka Alexishvili

16 January 2020 14:52