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Ex-Tax chief Mikhail Mishustin becomes Russia's new PM

posted onJanuary 16, 2020

Mikhail Mishustin, is now set to head the Russian government, after Dmitry Medvedev resigned on Wednesday (Jan. 15). Russian President Vladimir Putin nominated Mishustin, 53, an economist who has headed the Federal Tax Service since 2010,  for the position of Russian prime minister.

The State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, will consider on Thursday the appointment of Mishustin, who has no political experience but is credited with modernising Russia's tax system, as prime minister.

"The council of the State Duma has corrected the chamber's agenda for January 16 to consider the prime minister candidature," the parliamentary press service said. The surprise nomination came after Putin's annual state-of-the-nation speech, in which he proposed a constitutional shake-up, including increasing the powers of prime ministers and members of the cabinet.

"Today in our society there is a clear demand for change," the 67-year-old leader said in his address delivered in the Manezh exhibition hall next to the Kremlin. "People want development, they are striving to move forward in their careers, in their education, in becoming prosperous."  “We will be able to build a strong prosperous Russia only on the basis of respect for public opinion." 

The Russian President also thanked Medvedev, a longtime ally, adding that he was "satisfied with the government's performance" although the government failed to fulfill certain tasks, reported news agency Interfax. 

Putin suggested that Medvedev take on a role as deputy head of Russia's Security Council, which Putin chairs. 

The Russian President has asked the outgoing government to continue to carry out their duties until a new government is formed. Mishustin will face a vote of approval in the Duma within one week. 

Mishustin, was born in Moscow and was trained as an engineer. He has a PhD in economics and worked as an IT expert in the 1990s. He began working in the tax service in 1998 and was later named deputy tax minister. In 2008, he served as the head of UFG investment group. Mishustin is also a member of the board of Russia's Ice Hockey Federation and has been seen at matches with security services officials, according to reports.

With reporting by Interfax and news agencies