Politicians in Russia have quickly sealed the appointment of a new prime minister a day after President Vladimir Putin kicked off an unexpected reshuffle of his inner circle.
Mikhail Mishustin, the chief of Russia’s tax service, met with politicians in the State Duma on Thursday before the confirmation vote.
The 53-year-old Mr Mishustin replaces Dmitry Medvedev, who was Mr Putin’s longtime ally and Russia’s prime minister for the past eight years.
Mr Medvedev resigned on Wednesday together with the whole Cabinet after Mr Putin proposed sweeping changes to the constitution that could keep him in power well past the end of his term in 2024.
The shake-up sent shockwaves through Russia’s political elites, who were left pondering what Mr Putin’s intentions were and speculating about future cabinet appointments.
Mr Putin’s proposed constitutional reforms, announced in a state of the nation address, indicated he was working to carve out a new governing position for himself after his term ends, although the suggested changes do not specify what path he will take to stay in charge.
The 67-year-old former KGB operative, who has led Russia for more than 20 years, often keeps his intentions secret until the very last moment.
Alexei Navalny, the most prominent Russian opposition leader, tweeted that Mr Putin’s speech clearly signalled his desire to continue calling the shots even after his presidential term ends.
“The only goal of Putin and his regime is to stay in charge for life, having the entire country as his personal asset and seizing its riches for himself and his friends,” Mr Navalny said.