Russian government resigns as Putin moves to weaken successor – Business Insider

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Foto: REUTERS/Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

  • The Russian government headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is resigning to give the country’s president room to make changes to the constitution, Medvedev announced on Wednesday, according to Russian state media.
  • In a speech earlier Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin proposed changes to the Russian Constitution that could limit the power of the presidency, effectively weakening his successor, and create opportunities for him to keep his grip on power after his presidency ends.
  • „It’s not clear what role he will play, what will his status be. The only thing which is clear is that he will keep his role as the No. 1 person,“ Aleksei Chesnakov, a political analyst who previously served as a Kremlin aide, told The Wall Street Journal.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed constitutional changes Wednesday that could extend his power after the end of his presidency. Shortly thereafter, the Russian government headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev resigned, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.

In his televised state of the nation on Wednesday, Putin proposed sweeping changes to the Russian Constitution that would weaken the powers of the presidency and expand those of Parliament, as well as the State Council.

He proposed imposing a two-term limit on future presidents and allowing Parliament instead of the president to choose the prime minister and Cabinet officials, among other changes – moves that would limit the power of the next president.

Putin has been in power as either the president or the prime minister since 1999, but he is expected to step down in 2024. The proposed amendments could provide a path to continued power in Russian politics for Putin even after he leaves office as president.

„It’s not clear what role he will play, what will his status be. The only thing which is clear is that he will keep his role as the No. 1 person,“ Aleksei Chesnakov, a political analyst who previously served as a Kremlin aide, told The Wall Street Journal.

Following Putin’s address, Prime Minister Medvedev said on state TV that „after those amendments are adopted,“ there would be „significant changes not only to a variety of constitution articles, but to the balance of power, namely to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of power.“

„In this context,“ he continued, „it is evident that we, as the government of the Russian Federation, should provide our country’s president with an opportunity to take all the necessary decisions in these conditions. I believe it right for the government of the Russian Federation to step down in conformity with Article 117 of Russia’s Constitution.“

The Russian president thanked Medvedev for his service. „Not everything was done, but everything never works out in full,“ Putin said.

The prime minister and his government’s resignation will allow Putin to select new senior officials as he works to reshape the Russian government. Medvedev is to become the new deputy head of Russia’s Security Council. Putin has instructed the resigning government to continue performing its duties until a new one can be appointed.

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