Putin instates economy-focused technocrat as Russia's prime minister





Moscow - By Peter Spinella, - Russian President Vladimir Putin instated the long-time head of the federal tax service, Mikhail Mishustin, as prime minister on Thursday.
Mishustin, who had headed the tax service for a decade, focused on improving Russia's struggling economy during televised deliberations on his candidacy in parliament.
The 4 trillion roubles (65 billion dollars) needed to fulfil Putin's plans on providing welfare and other societal benefits over the next four years should be allocated, Mishustin told the legislature.



 
"The resources are fully available," Mishustin said.
Russia's economy has struggled over the past half-decade amid a slump in prices for oil, a major export, and crippling Western sanctions imposed as punishment for Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis.
Putin had chosen Mishustin for the position following the abrupt resignation of prime minister Dmitry Medvedev the previous day.
Medvedev, a former president and close ally of Putin, said he was stepping aside after the president announced a plan to give the premiership more authority through a constitutional referendum.
Putin signed a decree to instate Mishustin shortly after the lower house of parliament voted with a vast majority in favour.
Mishustin said in comments carried by state media ahead of the parliamentary session that his top priority would be to remove unnecessary hurdles to doing business in the country.
Mishustin is a "virtually unknown technocrat and will likely only temporarily occupy the position," said Diyar Autal, an associate of Harvard University's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.
With the proposed constitutional reform to strengthen the premiership, Putin is signalling that when his current term expires in 2024, he could become prime minister, Autal told dpa.
Putin, 67, has been in power as president or prime minister for two decades. He is the longest serving Russian or Soviet leader since Joseph Stalin.

 


Thursday, January 16th 2020
By Peter Spinella,
           


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