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Putin reappoints Mishustin as Russia’s Prime Minister

The speaker of the parliament’s lower house, Vyacheslav Volodin, announced that Putin has submitted Mishustin’s candidacy to the State Duma, which will hold a session later Friday to consider it.

Screenshot 2024 05 11 102809MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday reappointed Mikhail Mishustin as the country’s Prime Minister after the previous stint on the job during which the low-key technocrat has shown a distinct lack of political ambitions.

In line with Russian law, Mishustin, 58, who held the job for the past four years, submitted his Cabinet’s resignation on Tuesday when Putin began his fifth presidential term at a glittering Kremlin inauguration.

Mishustin’s reappointment was widely expected by political observers, who noted that Putin has appreciated his skills and low political profile. Mishustin, the former head of Russia’s tax service, has steered clear of political statements and avoided media interviews during his previous tenure.

The speaker of the parliament’s lower house, Vyacheslav Volodin, announced that Putin has submitted Mishustin’s candidacy to the State Duma, which will hold a session later Friday to consider it.

Under the constitutional changes approved in 2020, the lower house approves the candidacy of the prime minister, who then submits candidacies of Cabinet members.

Mishustin’s approval is a mere proforma in the Kremlin-controlled parliament.

Mishustin and other technocrats in the Cabinet were credited for maintaining a relatively stable economic performance despite bruising Western sanctions.

Most Cabinet members are also expected to keep their jobs and their reappointments are expected shortly.

The fate of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu appeared uncertain, however, after last month’s arrest of his top associate, Timur Ivanov.

Ivanov, who served as deputy defense minister in charge of multibillion military construction projects, was arrested on bribery charges and was ordered to stay in custody pending official investigation.

The arrest of Ivanov was widely interpreted as an attack on Shoigu and a possible precursor of his dismissal despite his close personal ties with Putin.

Shoigu was widely criticized for Russian military’s setbacks in the early stage of the fighting in Ukraine. He faced scathing attacks from mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who launched a brief attempted march on Moscow last June to demand the ouster of Shoigu and the chief of the General Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov.

After Prigozhin’s death in a suspicious air crash two months after the rebellion that was broadly widely seen as a Kremlin revenge for his mutiny, Shoigu appeared to shore up his position, but Ivanov’s arrest, seen as part of Kremlin’s political infighting, again exposed Shoigu’s vulnerability.

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