Russian prime minister submits resignation to Putin

Vladimir Putin delivers his annual address to the Federal Assembly 20 February 2019

Putin "outlined a number of fundamental changes to the constitution, significant changes not only to a number of articles of the constitution, but also to the balance of power as a whole", Medvedev said in his statement, which was aired on Russian state television.

Putin asked Medvedev, his longtime ally, to continue as head of government until a new government has been appointed. The authority to make those appointments now belongs to Russia's president.

Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a one-time oligarch and rival of Putin's who now lives in exile, had said he was open to running for the post.

In an abrupt move on Wednesday, Russia's Prime Minister Medvedev announced that his entire government would resign.

The package of reforms would be put to a national vote, he said, without specifying when.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny charged the changes were a ploy by the President to help him retain power even after he leaves office. He will have to step down after his term ends under the current law, which limits the president to two consecutive terms.

"I want to thank you for everything that has been done, to express satisfaction with the results that have been achieved", Putin said.

When Mr. Medvedev held the presidency, he and his patron were not always in sync, to the annoyance of Mr. Putin, who undid several of his measures.

As for what landing spot Putin may be eyeing for himself, Stanovaya predicted that he will choose the State Council.

Putin's proposal came during his his annual address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow on Wednesday - a yearly "state of the nation" style speech that appeared to lay the groundwork to preserve Putin's influence over the country when his current and final presidential term ends in 2024. He was particularly critical of Medvedev's decision to give the green light to the Western air campaign over Libya in 2011 that led to the ouster and the killing of long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Medvedev's decision to step down after one term to let Putin return to the presidency also sparked massive protests in Moscow in 2011-2012 in a major challenge to the Kremlin.

The former FSB chief took power in 2000 and since served as both president and prime minister.

"In a nutshell, we take this announcement as an attempt by Putin to shake up Russia's polity and refocus the administration on implementing the president's well-telegraphed but slowly progressing public spending program", Citi said in a note. On Wednesday, Putin suggested creating the position of Council's deputy chief and said Medvedev should take the post.

In addition, he also talked about a constitutional change that would enshrine the priority of domestic legislation over global law.



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