Russian President Vladimir Putin reappoints Mikhail Mishustin as prime minister

Russian President Vladimir Putin has reappointed Mikhail Mishustin as prime minister for the lower house’s approval. Parliament Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said the house, the State Duma, will hold a session later Friday to consider Mishustin’s candidacy.

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

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 values his skills and the lack of political ambition. Mishustin, the former head of Russia‘s tax service, has kept a low profile, steering clear of political statements and avoiding media interviews.

Who is Russia’s Mikhail Mishustin?

  • Mishustin, 58 (born March 3, 1966), was appointed by Putin as head of government in January 2020, replacing Dmitry Medvedev. Along with other members of the Russian elite, Mishustin has been targeted by Western sanctions in connection with the war in Ukraine.
  • As chief technocrat in the ruling apparatus, with no background in the security services, Mishustin is not part of the so-called siloviki (strongmen) faction of intelligence veterans who are close to Putin. Before becoming prime minister, he headed the federal tax service, where he was credited with more than doubling revenues during his decade in charge.
  • His tenure in government has been dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war with Ukraine, both of which have thrown up vast logistical challenges that Mishustin has been tasked with solving.
  • Mishustin was named head of a new Coordination Council in October 2022 to work with regional leaders and industry to better supply the armed forces and improve medical and logistical support. Putin had acknowledged problems in this area after a chaotic mobilisation of 300,000 men, some of whom were reported to lack basic kit such as sleeping bags.
  • He comes across as a confident communicator, often seen on television fielding pointed questions from Putin on government tasks and deadlines.
  • In his annual report to parliament in April 2024, Mishustin said his government had faced “very complicated” conditions but succeeded in adapting Russia’s economy to Western sanctions and delivering on targets set by Putin, to whom he referred 67 times in official excerpts of his speech.
  • Mishustin could play an important role in a future power transition. Under the constitution, the prime minister is first in line to take over as acting president until new elections if the Kremlin leader resigns, is removed from office or has to step aside for health reasons.

(Inputs from Reuters)

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