Putin reappoints Mishustin as Russia’s prime minister

Russian President Vladimir Putin has reappointed Mikhail Mishustin as the country’s prime minister after his previous stint in the job.

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

Mr Mishustin’s reappointment was widely expected by political observers, who noted that Mr Putin has appreciated his skills and low political profile.

Mr Mishustin, the former head of Russia’s tax service, has steered clear of political statements and avoided media interviews during his previous tenure.

Russia Putin Government
Vladimir Putin, escorted by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, arrives for a meeting with Cabinet members in Moscow earlier in the week (Dmitry Astakhov, Sputnik, Government Pool Photo via AP)

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

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

Mr 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.

Russia Putin Government
Vladimir Putin and Mikhail Mishustin (Alexander Astafyev, Sputnik, Government Pool Photo via AP)

Mr Ivanov, who served as deputy defence 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 Mr Ivanov was widely interpreted as an attack on Mr Shoigu and a possible precursor of his dismissal despite his close personal ties with Mr Putin.

Mr Shoigu was widely criticised 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, General 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, Mr Shoigu appeared to shore up his position, but Mr Ivanov’s arrest, seen as part of Kremlin’s political infighting, again exposed Mr Shoigu’s vulnerability.

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