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How Putin's shake-up could keep him in power past 2024

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on January 16, 2020 - Duration: 01:37s

How Putin's shake-up could keep him in power past 2024

Russia's ruling party on Thursday unanimously backed President Vladimir Putin's surprise choice for prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin, a man with almost no political profile.

But why was he picked?

Lauren Anthony reports.

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How Putin's shake-up could keep him in power past 2024

Russia has chosen a new prime minister, after President Vladimir Putin proposed a wave of constitutional changes that could extend his grip on power after leaving the presidency.

Former premier Dmitry Medvedev and his cabinet stepped down on Wednesday (January 16), making way for Mikhail Mishustin, the 53-year-old head of the tax service.

He has little public profile - except having been known to play ice hockey with Putin - and had not been spoken of as a potential candidate.

These factors are seemingly part of Putin's strategy to open up opportunity to diminish the powers of the presidency - and to beef up those of the prime minister.

Analysts have called Mishustin a "technocratic placeholder".

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.

And essentially, that would give Putin the options of, taking on an enhanced role as prime minister after 2024 when he is obliged to leave the presidency, pursuing a new role as head of the state council, or even becoming speaker of a new, supercharged parliament.

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

Putin has ruled Russia for two decades.

And for many, he is seen as a welcome source of stability.

But others complain 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.

Putin says the new constitutional proposals should be put to a referendum.

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