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Russian economist and politician Mikhail Vladimirovich Mishustin has been elected as the country’s new prime minister, a day after the entire government resigned on January 15.
Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, confirmed Mishustin’s new role on January 16 amid a major political shakeup. Mishustin served as the head of the Russian Federal Taxation Service (FTS), where he led the reformation of the country’s fiscal system.
Putin’s reshuffling history
The entire Russian government resigned after President Vladimir Putin proposed a government reform that could extend his power for decades to come. Putin promptly accepted former Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s resignation, as he suggested Mishustin as head of state to parliament.
Analysts claim that Putin is making an effort to avoid legal obstacles that could impede his ability to retain power after his term ends in 2024. In 2008, Putin reportedly swapped places with the prime minister to get around the constitutional provision banning the same person from serving two consecutive terms.
Who is the new PM?
Mishustin is known for his innovative work in bringing tax collection into the digital economy. In 1989, he graduated from the Moscow State Technological University ‘Stankin’ with engineering qualifications and later he entered a postgraduate program at the same university. In 1992, Mishustin worked at the International Computer Club (ICC), a public non-profit organization, to help facilitate the integration of Russian and Western advanced information technologies.
Six years later, in 1998, Mishustin joined the state service as an assistant to the head of the FTS, handling information systems in accounting and control over the receipt of tax payments.
He was then promoted in the same year as the deputy minister of the Ministry for Tax and Revenue, later working as head of the Federal Agency for Real Estate Cadastre from 2004 to 2006 where he was appointed as the head of the federal agency managing special economic zones (SEZ) – which are structures within the Ministry of Economic Development.
In 2008, Mishustin left the state service to move to investment company UFG Capital Partners, which specializes in launching business development ventures, real estate and related projects. He returned to the government sector as head of the FTS in 2016.
The new Russian prime minister has a doctorate degree in Economics and he is claimed to be the author of three monographs and more than 40 research articles. It has been reported that his lack of political experience may suggest that he is likely to dutifully carry out the Kremlin’s wishes as head of the cabinet.