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Major Political Changes in Russia


Aug 22, 2018
United States
Major announcements in this State of the Nation speech on Jan 15, 2020.

Here is a very brief summary to get the conversation started.

Immediate politics:

The Medvedev government has resigned
The little-known Mikhail Mishustin, former head of the tax service, has been appointed as PM. He is an AI-loving technocrat who reduced uncollected VAT from 20% to 1%.
Source tells me FM Sergey Lavrov rumored to be permanently retiring.
Constitutional changes:

Parliament, not President, to now name the PM and Cabinet. The President won’t have veto powers.
President limited to an absolute two terms, ruling out a “Putin after Putin.”
Increase the role of the State Council and enshrine its advisory role in the Constitution.
Constitutional changes to be confirmed by referendum.
Russian law now formally superior to international law.
Ban PMs, Ministers, governors, some mayors and judges, from having second citizenships of foreign residencies; moreover, Presidential candidates should have been resident in Russia for 25 years (previously 10 years) and never had a foreign citizenship. (This rules out a large proportion of Atlanticists and crypto-Atlanticists).

Putin bemoaned continued fall in Russia’s fertility rates to 1.5 children per woman this year (up from post-Soviet peak of close to 1.8 in mid-2000s), setting 1.7 children per woman as the new target for 2024.
Reaffirmed demographics as the first national priority.
Maternity capital to be increased by further 150,000 rubles and constitute 616,617 rubles (≈$10,000) for a family with two children, to be annually indexed.

Some very tentative thoughts:

(1) I have long thought now that Putin’s end game is to transition into an overseeing “elder statesman” role, along the model of Lee Kuan Yew/PAP in Singapore [see 1, 2, 3]. This appears to be the final confirmation that this is happening.

(2) Questions about the succession revolved around (a) The Belarus variant, in which it effectively constitutes a new state with Russia, allowing Putin to become the supreme head of that state; (b) A constitutional reshuffle such as the one we’re seeing here. This question has also been answered.

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