Leonid Bershidsky, Moscow Times: Russia’s New Prime Minister Is a Bureaucratic Superman
The appointment highlights the Putin system’s fundamental paradox: It is an antiquated, Byzantine, nepotistic, deeply corrupt governance model that nevertheless values and rewards technocratic brilliance.
After a blitz of constitutional reform proposals aimed at keeping him in power after his presidential term ends in 2024, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin named his new prime minister — a tech-obsessed tax administrator with no interest in politics. The appointment highlights the Putin system’s fundamental paradox: It is an antiquated, Byzantine, nepotistic, deeply corrupt governance model that nevertheless values and rewards technocratic brilliance.
In the Russian power succession scheme, the prime minister takes over when the president is for some reason unable to govern; Prime Minister Putin became acting president when Boris Yeltsin resigned in the final minutes of 1999. Putin waited out Dmitry Medvedev’s presidential term between 2008 and 2012 as prime minister, and Medvedev assumed the post afterwards. But there have been periods under both Yeltsin and Putin when the prime minister post wasn’t occupied by politically ambitious or important individuals; those were times when the president claimed full responsibility for Russia’s course.
Mikhail Mishustin, the newly confirmed prime minister, fits neither precedent.
Read more ….
WNU Editor: I know that Mikhail Mishustin’s push (and success) to reform and modernize Russia’s tax system, especially when it comes to business taxes, has made him a hero in Russia’s business community. In fact, I find my Canadian business and personal tax returns far more complicated and confusing to do when compared to Russia’s, and I am talking from personal experience. As for Mikhail Mishustin appointment and confirmation as Prime Minister, and President Putin’s declaration to change the constitution, I am still digesting this news. For now, I am recommending the above post by Leonid Bershidsky. It is one of the best analysis that I have read so far.
Update: This is how fast events are moving in Russia …. Mikhail Mishustin didn’t have an English Wikipedia page on Wednesday morning. A day later, he’s Russia’s prime minister (CNN).