Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 15, 2020

The Russian Prime Minister Resigns And No One Knows Why

A curious 'regime change' happened in Russia today as the Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev and his whole cabinet resigned.

This morning President Vladimir Putin held his yearly speech to the Federal Assembly of Russia (English transcript). Putin spoke about Russia's demographic situation, its weaponry and the celebration of the upcoming 75th anniversary of its second world war victory.

But the most important part was about constitutional changes. A summary via TASS:

Putin has suggested a putting up a package of constitutional amendments for a plebiscite. At the same time, the Russian president stated that he sees no grounds to adopt new constitution in Russia.

Putin also suggest stipulating the supremacy of the Russian Constitution over international norms in Russia.

“The time has come to make some changes to the nation’s fundamental law that would directly guarantee the priority of the Russian Constitution in our legal space. What does this mean? It means that requirements of international law and decisions of international bodies can only be enforced in Russia to such an extent that does not violate human and civil rights and freedoms and does not violate our Constitution,” Putin emphasized.

It seems that the European Court of Human Rights has pissed off Russia once too often. The court is associated with the Council of Europe which has 47 member states including Russia. It has several times judged in the favor of renegade oligarchs in exile and the 'western' supported wannabe opposition in Russia.

Putin then proposed additional changes to the constitution. These were probably the points that led to Medvedev resignation:

Putin agrees that the same person should not hold the post of the head of state for more than two consecutive terms.

"I know that our society is debating the constitutional provision that the same person should not hold the office of President of the Russian Federation for more than two consecutive terms. I do not believe that this question is of fundamental importance, but I agree with this," Putin said.

The TASS interpretation that Putin 'agrees that the same person should not hold the post of the head of state for more than two consecutive terms' is not supported by Putin's statement. Currently the Russian constitution does include a two consecutive terms limit. Does Putin want to keep it or lift it? The official English transcript of the speech also has a slightly different wording:

I know that people are discussing the constitutional provision under which one person cannot hold the post of the President of the Russian Federation for two successive terms. I do not regard this as a matter of principle, but I nevertheless support and share this view.

What exactly is the view Putin is supporting here. A term limit, as TASS seems to imply, or none, as the New York Times rumors? If the term limit is lifted then Putin could run again for a third consecutive presidency. Medvedev, who was said to have hoped to again become president, would probably dislike the second interpretation.

More from TASS:

The president has also suggested complementing Russia’s Constitution with a special requirement that a candidate running for the post of head state should be a resident of Russia for no less than 25 years and have neither foreign citizenship nor an overseas residence permit, not just at the moment of the election, but never before in the past.

Under the Constitution today, any Russian citizen who has lived in the country for no less than ten years can be elected as Russia’s president.

That a presidential candidate should never have had a resident permit in a foreign country is a curious restriction. Putin lived in east-Germany between 1985 and 1990. He was an officer of the KGB at that time but I am sure that the KBG took care to have resident permits from the host country for its undercover officers. However, the change would not effect Medvedev.

Additionally to the above Putin proposed to amend the constitution to expand the powers of parliament and the federal state council, which currently has little to say. From his speech:

What is the situation like now? In accordance with articles 111 and 112 of the Russian Constitution, the President only receives the consent of the State Duma to appoint the Prime Minister, and then appoints the head of the Cabinet, his deputies and all the ministers. I suggest changing the procedure and allowing the State Duma to appoint the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, and then all deputy prime ministers and federal ministers at the Prime Minister’s recommendation. At the same time the President will have to appoint them, so he will have no right to turn down the candidates approved by the Parliament. (Applause.)

All of this means drastic changes to the political system.

The move would give any future President less power than Putin currently holds. But why would Putin weaken the position of the president if he would want to run for another term?

The resignation of Medvedev as prime minister was completely unexpected and seems politically unnecessary. Media connected it to the constitutional changes Putin proposed:

Before announcing the resignation of the cabinet, Medvedev met with Putin to discuss his state-of-the-nation address, which took place earlier on Wednesday, the Kremlin’s press office said.

In his address, Putin proposed several amendments to the constitution.

Medvedev explained that this cabinet is resigning in accordance with the Article 117 of the Russian Constitution, which says that the government can offer its resignation to the president, who, in turn, can either accept or reject it.

“In this context, it is obvious that, as the government, we must provide the president with a capability to make all decisions,” which are required to implement the proposed plan, Medvedev said.

Putin accepted the resignation and announced that a new position for a Deputy Chairman of the Security Council would be created and that Medvedev would take up that position. The Russian national security council is chaired by the president himself and includes the prime minister, the heads of the federal council and state duma, the ministers of defense, foreign and internal affairs, as well as the heads of the security services.

Medvedev is thereby not sidelined but gains a position in which he is Putin's deputy in important internal and external affairs.

In the evening Putin announced that he appointed Mikhail Mishustin, the head of Russia's Federal Tax Service, as the new Prime Minister. The 53 year old native of Moscow is practically unknown to the wider public. He is a curious and surprising choice.

Even Russian analysts near to Putin seem not to know if Putin and Medvedev had planned today's 'regime change' or if it was a totally spontaneous move by a pissed off Medvedev. They also seem unsure if Putin wants to leave in 2024 or if he wants to stay for another term.

We are thus left to make our own bets.

 

 

Posted by b on January 15, 2020 at 18:24 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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Maybe we need George W. Bush to peer into Putin's soul again.

Posted by: par4 | Jan 15 2020 18:31 utc | 1

Master of Psy Ops! Putin & his Tag team buddy, Medvedev, have pulled a master stroke. Medvedev will succeed Putin after Putin's next term.
Consider.
Medvedev did NOT Decline the "non existent" Post of Deputy NSA.
That's the Give Away of this Classic Coup.
Buddies at work.

Posted by: Haider | Jan 15 2020 18:41 utc | 2

It's hard to imagine that Putin wouldn't have conferred with Medvedev ahead of time and that any resignation would not have been pre-planned.

That is, unless Putin wanted to sandbag him as part of driving him out. Possible, given Medvedev's pro-Western orientation, if Putin really does want to pivot away from this. But then why give him a new high position, unless it's purely ornamental.

Especially the first translation of the term limit passage is very ambiguous.

"I know that our society is debating the constitutional provision that the same person should not hold the office of President of the Russian Federation for more than two consecutive terms. I do not believe that this question is of fundamental importance, but I agree with this," Putin said.

Does he agree with the provision, or that it is being debated? Given the context, it's likely the latter. If Medvedev resigned because Putin said this, he must think it's the latter.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 15 2020 18:42 utc | 3

The shift to increase the PM's powers suggest Putin is going to be Prime Minister again, not President. Politically, this is about sharing the blame, if not shifting it entirely to the new president.

Mevedev's dismissal is to make sure he isn't PM already, to deny him any possible incumbency advantage when Putin wants to be PM. As to Medvedev's current replacement? So far as I can tell, the head of the Federal Tax Service is, like Chuabais of an earlier time, nearly an official minister of corruption.The oligarchs that play ball don't get taxed like the ones who don't. This is Putin reminding the more equal citizens he still has both the carrot and the stick. But, I could be wrong and it could be Putin is signalling that Medvedev, the reputed Atlanticist, is going to be part of the "negotiating" team in foreign policy. But in practice, it could be the PM is always going to be more important than a sinecure on the Security Council. If the Security Council isn't the workroom of actual foreign policy, then ditching Medvedev is more like Stalin dismissing Litvinov.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jan 15 2020 18:48 utc | 4

There is nothing strange here. The PM resigns, 3 hours later there is the new one. A very good technocrat indeed. The father of the Russian tax miracle. One-click payment of your taxes through your smartphone. No more queues at tax offices, no more paper.

If anyone thinks that VVP and his inner circle have not planned everything re today's events, you don't know modern Russia. There is nothing done in haste.

And the successor was in the hall as well. My gut feeling is Alexey Dumin.


---

Posted by: BG | Jan 15 2020 18:54 utc | 5

Medvedev also has a problem that he's ideologically a rabid neoliberal.

I read in the RT (a long time ago) where he publicly (on the record) stated he was a passionate "thatcherite". This was before the Ukrainian debacle, though, and his opinion on the West after the sanctions against Russia begun has indeed changed for the worse - but I still don't think the West has sunk enough on Medvedev's opinion for his change of heart.

Of all the possible successors of Putin, Medvedev is, by far, the most tragic and catastrophic for Russia. But maybe he's also very powerful behind the scenes, in a way Putin cannot outright ditch him. After all, his creed come directly out of the Yeltsin circle: could he've inherited some of the Yeltsinite political machine?

Posted by: vk | Jan 15 2020 18:57 utc | 6

So much of the take on this is silly beyond comprehension! The shuffling of the prime minister and cabinet is irrelevant, The real news is that Putin wants the people to vote on some important changes to the constitution. No where has he proposed to give either the office of President or the Prime minister more power. Only the selection process for the government is suggested to change. Putin would like to see the lower house of parliament select the Prime Minister, who will then appoint ministers the house will either approve or reject. This is far from a despotic move and it puts the burden of government heavily on the elected representatives. Other changes suggested are safeguards against foreign interference in Russia's political affairs and sovereignty. Nothing unusual about any of it.

Posted by: nemo | Jan 15 2020 19:03 utc | 7

That a presidential candidate should never have had a resident permit in a foreign country is a curious restriction. Putin has lived in east-Germany between 1985 and 1990. He was an officer of the KGB at that time but I am sure that the KBG took care to have resident permits from the host country for its undercover officers.
Military abroad don't count as foreign residents, and wouldn't require a residence permit. I'm sure that Putin in DDR would have counted as military or diplomatic, however much undercover he is supposed to have been.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 15 2020 19:07 utc | 8

Some here will have already read this, but others won't have. Written by Patrick Armstrong.
https://www.sott.net/article/427096-Now-twenty-years-later-how-did-Putin-do-it

A provocative excerpt for MOA's true believers such as Vk and Sasha -

"For almost three-fourths of the outgoing century Russia lived under the sign of the implementation of the communist doctrine. It would be a mistake not to see and, even more so, to deny the unquestionable achievements of those times. But it would be an even bigger mistake not to realise the outrageous price our country and its people had to pay for that Bolshevist experiment. What is more, it would be a mistake not to understand its historic futility. Communism and the power of Soviets did not make Russia a prosperous country with a dynamically developing society and free people. Communism vividly demonstrated its inaptitude for sound self-development, dooming our country to a steady lag behind economically advanced countries. It was a road to a blind alley, which is far away from the mainstream of civilisation."

Posted by: tucenz | Jan 15 2020 19:12 utc | 9

It would be wrong to think that this is reactive to anything at all. It's very clearly a pro-active move, long thought out by Russia and Putin. Slow to saddle but quick to ride, Russia acts simply at the moment it chooses, and no one ever knows it's coming.

Putin is moving now to create the system that will survive him. This is something that Russia dearly needs. Yes, it has always functioned with a strong leader, but Putin clearly understands that the strength of systems is what guarantees survival. It was only the remaining strength of the security state that put him into office.

The whole government is resigning. Russia's parliamentarians, under Putin's lead, will restructure the constitution and government structure to make it bullet-proof in the future. We get to watch the choices made.

Personally I expect Russia to begin to emulate the China example and gradually to institute a more socialist economy - Socialism with Russian characteristics. This will perhaps take the remaining four years of Putin's term - and may well take a few long knives. Putin is not himself by nature a socialist but he cannot have watched China without understanding that it's the most robust economic system there is.

As to Medvedev, my personal sense of him is that he is Putin's man. Left on his own, perhaps he might be seduced by the fifth column and the west. But personally I believe he actually honors Putin more than this - or perhaps fears him? I don't think there's much difference, and I don't regard either as weakness. I think history will show Medvedev as a loyal servant of the nation in the end, albeit possibly only because the forces around him constrained him into that position. Also, people change and come to align with their situations. He is becoming one of Putin's right-hand men now, as the structure changes. This speaks of his loyalty - Putin didn't need to make him his advisor simply to keep him close.

Some suggest this is for Medvedev to become President while Putin becomes Prime Minister. My bet is they both retire together, both grateful to be at peace finally, and watch their bulletproof nation continue on safely.

Lovely news.


Posted by: Grieved | Jan 15 2020 19:14 utc | 10

vk@6 "After all, [Medvedev's] creed came directly out of the Yeltsin circle: could he've inherited some of the Yeltsinite political machine?"

Putin inherited Yeltsin's political machine, except for Yeltsin's personal family and entourage, in exchange for ensuring Yeltsin died in his cups from a more or less natural death, and his personal family and entourage could expect to do the same. Rabid Thatcherism was one part of Yeltsinism. Remember not even Yeltsin was as rabid as Gaidar. But Gaidar and Medvedev (and their ilk, then and now) were part of a broad political movement. Under Yeltsin, the prime task was to steal public property on a mass scale and crush the workers' standard of living, to make capitalist production profitable. The mad rush to privatize everything and shock the nation couldn't continue forever. Hence Putin. The new bourgeoisie needed someone to restore order. This included restraining the madder oligarchs, but this is not a repudiation of Yelstinism, aka capitalist restoration. It's law and order in defense of property.

Also, Medvedev has always loyally cooperated with Putin. Imagining some sort of difference in principle strikes me as made. Medvedev is one flavor of Putinism, to be whipped out and sold when the market for that flavor looks good.

Sorry I think you're wrong in this view.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jan 15 2020 19:15 utc | 11

"Medvedev also has a problem that he's ideologically a rabid neoliberal.

I read in the RT (a long time ago) where he publicly (on the record) stated he was a passionate "thatcherite". This was before the Ukrainian debacle, though, and his opinion on the West after the sanctions against Russia begun has indeed changed for the worse - but I still don't think the West has sunk enough on Medvedev's opinion for his change of heart.

Of all the possible successors of Putin, Medvedev is, by far, the most tragic and catastrophic for Russia. But maybe he's also very powerful behind the scenes, in a way Putin cannot outright ditch him. After all, his creed come directly out of the Yeltsin circle: could he've inherited some of the Yeltsinite political machine?"
Absolutely 100% agree with commenter VK on this.
Medvedev was a concern fron long ago. He is part of the 5th column in Russia and is extremely dangerous to Russia's future
I would not put it past this man to open Russia to Western Zionist oligarchs and sell it off piece by piece.
Why Putin chose this man is beyond all comprehension to me.

Posted by: Annie | Jan 15 2020 19:17 utc | 12

Medvedev to be named deputy of the presidential Security Council

Posted by: Oui | Jan 15 2020 19:17 utc | 13

My understanding of Medvedev is the man who, through whatever means, and after Putin's ascendency, saved the Western bankers from being completely exiled from Russia's Central Bank. I believe the relationship between the two is tepid at best.

Posted by: joetv | Jan 15 2020 19:26 utc | 14

Posted by: tucenz | Jan 15 2020 19:12 utc | 9

So what's new? It's pretty well known that Putin is anti-communist. He is rather a nationalist, as Armstrong says in most of his piece. Quite right-wing, and not socialist, as Grieved suggests.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 15 2020 19:27 utc | 15

Putin spoke about the "two consecutive terms" nearly four weeks ago:

"What could be done concerning these terms in office is removing the 'consecutive' clause," Putin said at a major press conference (...)
"Your humble servant served two terms, then left this office and had the constitutional right to return to the presidential office, because this was not two consecutive terms," Putin said.

This clause "disturbs some of our political analysts and public figures," Putin said. "Well, perhaps it could be abolished," he said."
http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?id=944349

And he says something very similar today when Medvedev unexpectedly quits as PM. Looks now like Putin is blocking plans by Medvedev to move back into the President's office.

Posted by: Brendan | Jan 15 2020 19:34 utc | 16

@ Grieved 10

It will take some time for me to believe Medvedev can be trusted. Keep enemies very close.

The basic elements explained; Russian Government 101 at Sputniknews: How does the Russian government work? What is to change?

endpoint - What is to change:

In a move that looks set to significantly boost the power of parliament, Vladimir Putin called for changes to the Constitution that would enable the Duma to select the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers instead of the President.

Having announced the redistribution of power, Putin has stressed that Russia still needs to remain a “strong presidential republic”. According to Russian law, Putin now has two weeks to appoint a new Prime Minister.

Lawmakers have already started drafting the legislation to put Putin’s proposals into practice.


b noted, a new PM has been appointed.

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 15 2020 19:35 utc | 17

Though Putin seemed to have immense power as an autocratic President, that is only for security issues and security sectors. For Domestic Economic and Social issues, the Left, the West-loving Liberals had a firm grasp in 1999-2000 and had to be accommodated. Russia was at war with mafia organizations and Chechen jihadis. The West had sabotaged the Russian Federation. It was collapsing. Putin had to accommodate the Liberals and share power. They fractured Science, Education, the domestic economy, and continually undermined all Putin's domestic developments. Medvedev's government was the tool they used to handicap Russia.

Putin overcame this, survived the destabilization, color revolutions, NATO encroachments, CIA-terrorist events, the Maidan-Nazi coup in Kiev, and made the bold moves in Georgia, Crimea, Donbass, and then Syria. Reaching a virtual alliance with China enabled Russia to weather the sanctions regimes and the Info-propaganda wars from Washington, London and Brussels.

Only more recently has Russia reached a state of balance where we assume, incorrectly, it has been for these past 20 years.

Putin now is showing the way to the future.

Medvedev is not a partner. He is a useful tool. Putin has boxed him in the Security Council where he will disappear. Patrushev and Putin are the Security Council leaders, with Sergei Ivanov, the single man closest to Putin since their school days in St. Petersburg.

Putin knows the US is at war with Russia. He is organizing the homeland defense.

Next will be a deep shakeup among the oligarchs who Putin made deals with to get them out of politics early on. They will have to pay up to boost the economy.

How Putin stays past 2024 is still unknown. But he knows he is as important to the survival and future success of Russia as the S-400, hypersonic missiles and uninterrupted flow of oil and gas exports. Russia needs Putin in charge for at least another 10-12 years.

Reshaping the government is part of the defense of the Fatherland.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jan 15 2020 19:51 utc | 18

The question needs to be asked: is Putin preparing his departure, or is this a means of renewing his mandate? He is now 68, and has been at the top for 20 years. I have to say that I'm not convinced he is ready to go, but I could be wrong. People like that can be obsessive about their roles, and may never be ready to step back.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 15 2020 19:54 utc | 19

Likklemore | Jan 15 2020 19:35 utc | 17

What is to change:
"In a move that looks set to significantly boost the power of parliament, Vladimir Putin called for changes to the Constitution that would enable the Duma to select the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers instead of the President.

Having announced the redistribution of power, Putin has stressed that Russia still needs to remain a “strong presidential republic”. According to Russian law, Putin now has two weeks to appoint a new Prime Minister.

Lawmakers have already started drafting the legislation to put Putin’s proposals into practice."

The parliamentary system I've read most about is that of the Weimar Republic in the late 20s-early 30s where the fecklessness of the moderate parties and obstructionism of the radical parties made a parliamentary cabinet impossible, so that there was a series of presidential cabinets.

So according to this, post-Soviet Russia by law has had only presidential cabinets (much like the pre-revolutionary fake Duma had only tsarist cabinets), but Putin wants to change this to a more Western-style system? This whole thing is odd, especially since he inconsistently says Having announced the redistribution of power, Putin has stressed that Russia still needs to remain a “strong presidential republic”.

It seems unlikely Putin really wants to increase the Duma's power, at any rate not during this time of mounting crisis.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 15 2020 19:56 utc | 20

Andrei Martyanov aka smoothieX12 comments on the important economic aspect of the (very long) speech which I did not touch:

Russia is making a massive TRUE LEFT turn. And by LEFT I mean not the gender-fluid parody which exists in the West. This is long awaited revolution from the able needed to pour massive funds into the country. I have to admit--not only new Premier Mishustin is a Ph.D in economics and a head of the most important tax ministry, he looks absolutely brutal and ready to kick ass of anyone who disagrees with him. I like it;))

Posted by: b | Jan 15 2020 19:59 utc | 21

b, there are many things you did not mention. For example barring dual citizens from important positions, such as MPs, judges, ministers, etc.

Coming changes will increase the power of the Duma and the High Chamber (SovFed), but also will increase the power of the presidential council. And President will be able to have more than two terms.

This is a move towards Sovereignisation of Russia + strong Keynesian policy. A large infrastructure and health care spending.

Also there will be an increase in support for mothers and low income families, more free places in University, etc.

Posted by: Passer by | Jan 15 2020 20:01 utc | 22

LINK

Tass posted Putin's spokesman Peskov:- clarification on 'putting the proposed amendments to a plebiscite.' Fwiw:


MOSCOW, January 15. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will sign a special decree to set a date and rules of putting to the vote amendments to the Constitution, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that he was speaking about a voting procedure, and not a referendum.

"The president [in his message to the Federal Assembly] mentioned amendments concerning none of the fundamental articles of the Constitution. In this particular case a referendum is not on the agenda. No decision-making by means of voting is implied," Peskov said.[.]

Russia’s Constitution was adopted in a plebiscite on December 12, 1993. Analysts say it is one of the most stable documents of this kind in the world. A number of amendments has been introduced to it over the past 25 years — the presidential term of office was increased from four years to six and that of State Duma members from four years to five, the Supreme Court and the Court of Arbitration merged, [.]

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 15 2020 20:11 utc | 24

Posted by: b | Jan 15 2020 19:59 utc | 21

I'm not quite sure why anything here should be considered left-wing or socialist. Putin is a nationalist. Restore Russian power is his thing.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 15 2020 20:12 utc | 25

Hopefully Martyanov is right. There will be some upset yanks and brits as this takes shape.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 15 2020 20:16 utc | 26

The system Russia has now is like the American system. The president is elected, then picks appointees to the various government agencies that Congress must then approve. Putin wants the legislature to pick the PM, who will then appoint ministers the legislature must approve. The office of President will have no say in it. In this way the head of government and head of state will be rather isolated from each other. Not exactly like any system I know. Sort of a mix of a few out there.

Posted by: nemo | Jan 15 2020 20:17 utc | 27

According to Rt's reporting, the term limit would be the removal of the phrase "in a row", meaning that yes, a person can only be President of Russia for two successive terms. In other words, no one would be ble to do as Putin did by alternating between being PM and President to get around the "two terms in a row" of the current Constitution. Both RT and Kommersant report that Putin's proposal further makes it the Duma's responsibility to appoint the PM and cabinet ministers. In other words, Putin's proposal makes Zrussia's parliamentary system less like France and Britain and more like Germany's (where the Bundestag makes such appointments). It is a truism at his point that Putin has a more sympatico view of recent Germany than other Western countries.

Posted by: Zee | Jan 15 2020 20:18 utc | 28

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 15 2020 20:12 utc | 25

Putin is a patriot, not an ethnic nationalist. Do not confuse the two. I have seen many western nationalists going crazy by his relatively close relations with muslims, Ramzan Kadirov, etc.

Actually lots of the russian soldiers sent to Syria were muslims. This was deliberately done to help with acceptance from the population and not being seen as alien occupiers like americans or europeans are seen.

As for the left wing right wing thing - there will be large support for poor people, mothers, families, more free places in Universities, and large infrastructure projects. The government sector in the russian economy is quite high.

It looks like the french model that is being implemented, economy wise. Large government sector, industrial champions, some welfare state, free education, financial support for higher birth rate, etc.

Posted by: Passer by | Jan 15 2020 20:26 utc | 29

Must say the recent side discussion on Russian birth rates seemed to end as saying Putin had solved that problem, just as he had solved so many others. Unfortunately the details escape me, except that no doubt I was completely wrong.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jan 15 2020 20:28 utc | 30

Fun times in Russia..
"I want to say once again that we are alarmed by the negative demographic forecasts. It is our historic duty to respond to this challenge."

A long section on family assistance and teaching... state funded

Internet
"Given all the things I’ve just mentioned, I suggest that the Affordable Internet project be developed and carried out and that free access to socially important domestic internet services be available across Russia. I repeat that in this case people will not have to pay for the internet service, for internet traffic."

And this...
"It is our duty to defend the truth about the Victory; otherwise what shall we say to our children if a lie, like a disease, spreads all over the world? We must set facts against outrageous lies and attempts to distort history. Russia will create the largest and most complete set of archival documents, film and photo materials on the Second World War, accessible both for our citizens and for the whole world. This work is our duty as a winning country and our responsibility to the future generations."

Laguerre 25
"And I find it possible to express my view and propose a number of constitutional amendments for discussion, amendments that, in my opinion, are reasonable and important for the further development of Russia as a rule-of-law welfare state where citizens’ freedoms and rights, human dignity and wellbeing constitute the highest value."

If you think this is empty talk, read through the sections on families and teaching. Also the internet.
This is the important paragragh as to the change of direction...

"... At the same time, I can assure everyone that our efforts to strengthen national security were made in a timely manner and in sufficient volume. For the first time ever – I want to emphasise this – for the first time in the history of nuclear missile weapons, including the Soviet period and modern times, we are not catching up with anyone, but, on the contrary, other leading states have yet to create the weapons that Russia already possesses."

Russia is now secure militarily and can concentrate on domestic prosperity. But until that point, defence was first and foremost.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 15 2020 20:44 utc | 31

steven t johnson 30

Correct.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 15 2020 20:50 utc | 32

Maybe Haftar's sponsors let him tempering to allow the relocation of 2000 djihadists far from the Turkish borders? Once again Turkey would be on both sides.
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/359638/World/Region/,-Syrian-fighters-deployed-in-Libya-to-support-Tri.aspx

Posted by: Mina | Jan 15 2020 20:52 utc | 33

@ Posted by: tucenz | Jan 15 2020 19:12 utc | 9

Assuming the English translation is accurate, then all I have to say is that Putin is factually wrong in that regard.

The USSR was the only time in Russia's History it was "at the top of the world", i.e. was a world superpower. You don't need ideology to assess that, just look at the numbers.

The Russian Empire - of which Putin seems to be a big fan - was a second rate empire, and was treated as one by the first rate empires (UK, France and Germany). Up to the mid-19th Century, it was still feudal and, when the Crimea War broke out, the Russian Empire was easily and soundly defeated by UK-France coalition, even though it was much closer to its lines of communications and logistics than the Anglo-French.

That humiliating defeat made the tsar to do the capitalist reforms of the Russian empire (1861-1866).

Those capitalist reforms were, to be very brand, an absolute failure: some very few peasants became extremely rich overnight, while the vast majority became so poor that they had to resort to sell their own labor power to those rich peasants. The serfs of the government inherited no land at all (since they were only given their freedom, but not a piece of land). This completely distorted Russia's fragile feudal ecosystem and thus, its mode of production (Russia doesn't have a favorable climate for agriculture, so even when it was feudal, its peasants lived very badly. Read Gogol's Dead Souls for a very humorous depiction of the pre-1861 situation of the empire's peasants).

Some desperate, last ditch attempt to trigger an industrial revolution in Russia happened in the last decade of the 19th Century, but were too small in scale (only concentrated, essentially, in St. Petersburg and Moscow) and ultimately didn't save the empire besides allegedly causing a mini-boom in GDP growth terms.

But it was too late: an even more humiliating defeat to the Japanese (1905) - which was a regional empire only - threw Russia to a third rate empire status. That's when the first Russian Revolution happened, and the tsar was only not overthrown because it was brutally supressed.

Russia's economy continued to deteriorate further, and the disproportional toll of the WWI was the drop that broke the camel's back. Now, not only most of the peasants starving: if he had the luck to not starve, he would die in the trenches of the war. Hence the Bolshevik's slogan of the time: Bread, Land and Peace.

Bread, land and peace... if mr. Putin finds them "futile", then I'm afraid for the poor Russian people.

Posted by: vk | Jan 15 2020 20:57 utc | 34

Obviously the major reform is that making the system parliamentary- I guess that Russians have been watching the US to see how a Presidential (elected monarch) system works out. And, with the rest of humanity, shuddering.
For Democrats a parliamentary system, especially in a country as vast as Russia, is preferable.

Parliamentary systems don't always work but, when they do, they allow the representation of local communities and radical ideas without support from wealthy and influential elites. They also focus debate of policy within the Duma rather than leaving it up to media punditry and Kremlin counsellors.

Russia's recent history has been amazing- from the Soviet system through the horrors of neo-colonial rule by haute finance (horrors in which millions died) to the current national (which in Russia means multi-national) revival.
When one bears in mind that throughout the past century Russia has been almost permanently under attack by the West its current health suggests a solidity, political and social, that allows its rulers to engage in daring experiments such as the empowering of the Duma envisages.

No doubt Russia's rulers understand that behind all the threats coming from the expiring Empire is a system close to collapse- liberal capitalism reduced to offering its perennially deceived victims the new freedom of being able to choose their genders. And to change them at will.
But still no say in the matter of who will rule- that is settled, short of revolution, the rich will rule. And every four years the people will choose either a Biden(Obama, Clinton) or a Trump(Bush, Reagan).

Posted by: bevin | Jan 15 2020 20:59 utc | 35

Passerby @22

"For example barring dual citizens from important positions, such as MPs, judges, ministers, etc."

This means to me that he does not want an Israeli/Jewish sub structure as we saw used against Corbyn in the UK elections. (similar ones exist in many countries around the world, the US, France etc.) Or at least not in a place where they could work against Russian interests. I presume that the (already)Jewish population could be "authorities" if they give up their second passport.

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 15 2020 21:01 utc | 36

Regarding the political changes, this is worth reading.
https://patrickarmstrong.ca/2018/06/20/yes-putin-once-dreamed-the-american-dream/

The American dream has always been just that, a dream. But Putin would like to see Russia live it.

It looks as though the American dream will be in what Americans will call a socialist state. Though if Russian state has control of natural monopolies and looks after its citizens, then it is a socialist state.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 15 2020 21:11 utc | 37


Re Red Ryder: I agree he's organizing for homeland defense. While this has probably been under consideration, one would predict that given - the blatant, illegal assassination of Solemani, the possible set up of Iran re the Ukrainian air liner, the Israeli defense minister advocating more targeted assassination - Putin is correct in restructuring and bringing in Alexey Dumin, whose security credentials are impeccable. More probably than not, all current and forthcoming steps were taken in close consultation with generals Shoigu and Gerasimov. Obviously a seismic shift in geopolitical calculations occurred after the Solemani assassination.

I would suggest that Putin is circling the wagons in response to the wildly unstable foreign policy of the Trump administration which indicates a total disdain for international laws, opportunistic crossing of international rules of order as well as slavish adherence to the Netanyahu playbook. There is every possibility of a war with Iran which would not only destabilize the middle east, but worse for Russia - send highly trained and weapons supplied Al-Quaeda and ISIS up toward the vulnerable underbelly of Russia. As a proven, multidimensional chess player, Putin and his associates are crafting governmental, security and military structures which can address a multitude of nasty scenarios orchestrated by or at the behest of the hegemon.

Posted by: abierno | Jan 15 2020 21:12 utc | 38

It seems like Russia is reclaiming full independence (central bank+).
the Martyanov article today have a russia insight video that links to further videos from Russian media with eng sub.

Posted by: Per/Norway | Jan 15 2020 21:16 utc | 39

"Must say the recent side discussion on Russian birth rates seemed to end as saying Putin had solved that problem, just as he had solved so many others. Unfortunately the details escape me, except that no doubt I was completely wrong."

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jan 15 2020 20:28 utc | 30

Isn't it obvious steven? The bare chested alpha male Putin has been busy impregnating all nubile's about him. What "filly" would refuse?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QAoh3OE2G0&feature=emb_logo
(Notice how policewoman says "spasibo")
/flippant

Posted by: tucenz | Jan 15 2020 21:42 utc | 40

“In this context, it is obvious that, as the government, we must provide the president with a capability to make all decisions,” which are required to implement the proposed plan”

So Putin as President makes all decisions without a government checking him until he completes and implements a new Constitution?. By then his final term is about over and he can exercise control outside the Presidency (directly or indirectly depending on the new constitution which seems to be designed to weaken the Presidency after Putin is no longer President)

Be interesting if the new bank allows the Central Bank to finance government spending by printing money like the Fed Does. The current constitution prevents this meaning the government must pay higher interest rates and limit social benefits (eg reduce pension benefits)

Posted by: Pft | Jan 15 2020 21:43 utc | 41

The article doesn’t mention the main thing in Putin’s message today - the announced social changes. Benefits, increasing the level of cash payments, maintaining the privileges of certain categories of citizens, measures to combat poverty and other important proposals.

The country is facing ambitious and complex tasks of modernization and tangible improvement of the situation - economic, social, demographic (pay attention to Putin’s words at the very beginning of today's speech: "Russia’s future and historical perspective depend on how many of us there are"). The current composition of the government, according to Putin (however, as in the opinion of many Russian experts) is not able to cope with the implementation of these plans. The practice of recent years confirms this. The annual growth of the Russian economy of 1-1.5% is too frivolous a result for the implementation of all that was planned (Putin set the task for the government to achieve a GDP growth above the world).

A change of government has long been a necessary step that Russian society has been waiting for. I look positively that the year began with such changes.

I also consider it erroneous to question Putin’s words about the term of the presidency and allow the so-called double interpretation. I listened to Putin’s speech, he said exactly what TASS wrote:


"I know that our society is debating the constitutional provision that the same person should not hold the office of President of the Russian Federation for more than two consecutive terms. I do not believe that this question is of fundamental importance, but I agree with this".

The words "I agree with this" were spoken. I.e. Putin clearly said that he agreed that the same person should not hold the office of President of the Russian Federation for more than two consecutive terms.

In my opinion, discussing Putin’s third term is pointless. He will not run, as he himself has already announced (for example, at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum in May 2018).

Posted by: alaff | Jan 15 2020 21:51 utc | 42

First I was just as surprised by all this as anybody else was -- I don't know anyone who saw it coming (although, no doubt the US Garbage Media -- USGM -- will be full of people who claimed they did). Neither do I have a firm opinion of what it's about except a conviction that this is Step 1 of the Succession Plan and that it was all agreed to by all the players before announcing.
What I did notice and am thinking about is the televised bit where Putin and Medvedev make the announcement. Putin says there's a clear block of presidential powers and a clear block of govt powers. Defence and security are definitely presidential powers; then he said Medvedev had been handling them and would continue to do so in the new position of deputy head of security council. This sounds to me like a real job.
So Mishustin looks after bread and butter economy issues; Medvedev looks after defence and security; Putin sits at the top.
Will the tremendously effective Lavrov and Shoygu be in the new govt?
But this is only Step 1 I think.

Posted by: Patrick Armstrong | Jan 15 2020 21:51 utc | 43

Here is a german version of the parts of Putins speech regarding the constitution: https://www.anti-spiegel.ru/2020/putins-rede-an-die-nation-verfassungsaenderungen-angekuendigt-regierung-zurueckgetreten-was-nun/
Beside the suggested change, that any president, secretary or higher judge has to be a russian resident for at least 25 years and without any double nationality, the main points are that the rights of the parliament are strengthend: it shall choose and assign the prime minister, his deputy and all secretarys of the governement. The president shall not be allowed to dismiss these assingements.
In russophobic german MSM news this is called "Putins Politbureau 2.0", but in fact it is the opposite: strengthening the voice of the members of parliament.

Posted by: Sirius | Jan 15 2020 21:59 utc | 44

The vast majority of commenters are missing these important facts:
1) Putin has built enormous reputation and personal influence, but ultimately he is still a public representative member of a group of powerful people.
2) Medvedev has much less reputation, but he also is the public representative of a powerful group of people.
3) The Putin and Medvedev groups disagree on a number of areas, but they cooperate in major things. The Putin/Medvedev switchoff in 2012 is a notable example.
4) The residency permit/foreign citizenship restriction and residency requirement is to further complicate any external oligarch/Atlanticist/carpetbagger capability to become part of the Russian government.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 15 2020 22:04 utc | 45

Posted by: Patrick Armstrong | Jan 15 2020 21:51 utc | 43

Agree, I claim no foreknowledge, but I've been thinking that Putin needs to address what comes after Putin pretty soon now, and it would be very un-Putin-like not to do that. So not a surprise either. Twenty-twenty looks to be full of surprises.

But in any case it is interesting now to consider his choices in that regard.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 15 2020 22:12 utc | 46

The suggested new requirement that future Russian Presidents not be dual citizens, not have foreign residency permits and to have had at least 25 years' residence in Russia is quite conservative from this Australian MoA commenter's point of view.

There has been a lot of kerfuffle in Australian politics in the recent past because politicians in both Houses of Parliament were found to be dual citizens of Australia and of one other country in which they were born or at least one of their parents was born. The other country was very often the United Kingdom.

I understand that individuals campaigning to be US Presidents should be born in the US and their parents both be US citizens. This requirement is more stringent than the requirements Putin has suggested for future Russian Presidents.

Also in case people have not noticed, Putin has served three terms as President and is in his fourth term but within the limits of the Russian Constitution which require that the President may not serve more than two terms consecutively. This means he legally can campaign to serve a fifth term as President in 2030 although by then he probably would prefer to retire after having served as a Prime Minister or a senior Cabinet Minister.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 15 2020 22:22 utc | 47

Will the tremendously effective Lavrov and Shoygu be in the new govt?

Patrick, as long as Borisov is IN,I, personally, have very little worry, even if Shoigu goes. Lavrov is tired (communicating with Pompeo or EU "foreign ministers" will do the trick) but Masha is ready. I think recent "vbros" (misinformation)about her allegedly "foreign property" and "green cards" for her relatives was a shot across bow, but energetic debunking of this BS did the trick. But in the end, it is not just about power structure--it is about monstrous funds to be released into National Projects.

Posted by: Smoothiex12 | Jan 15 2020 22:23 utc | 48

OT, but as we have such knowledgeable Canadians such as Patrick Armstrong reading I make a request. What is the story about "Mr expert on everything, every week" Gwynne Dyer? I've just endured another of his gatekeeping, boundary defining columns where he states "...but the Iranian government lied about it for three days..."

https://lfpress.com/opinion/columnists/dyer-ps752-shootdown-a-human-error-driven-by-paranoid-politics-time-pressure

WTF is this broadly published bullshitter? Out there, there is probably some indepth erudite deconstructions of the Gwynne Dyer machine. Can someone supply them or point me to them?

Posted by: tucenz | Jan 15 2020 22:26 utc | 49

I also like Martyanov's observation - as cited by b at #21 - that the new prime minister, Mishustin, is a bulldog who will enforce policy with no mercy to the wicked.

Not only is he a PhD in Economics - and thus immune from anybody's bullshit in this field - but he seems to be an activist against corruption, at least when it comes to the state's revenues. The YouTube news clip that Martyanov posted in his update cites the Russian tax system created by Mishustin as being recognized as the best in the world by numerous authorities around the world.

A commenter at that clip on YT says this - for what it's worth and take it how you find it:

Mishustin is the author of a tracking system for one-day firms and other fraudulent organizations that transferred money to offshore companies. In just 3 years, from 2016 to the current moment, the number of one-day firms has decreased by 10 times, from 32% to 3.1% of all legal entities working in Russia. This is a real killer of corruption. He's a maniac! He created the best tax system in the world. Doctor of economics. A genius and uncompromising fighter with shady incomes.

As another commenter then replied, he seems like Kryptonite to transnational oligarchs ;)

If I had thoughts of transforming my nation's economy, I would want a man like Mishustin at my side.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 15 2020 22:32 utc | 50


@ Red Ryder #18

Medvedev will be liason.

The 'new' Security Council role..Science and Defense for the near term and in Preparedness of the Russian Federation and all citizens for an very uncertain future.

@ 'b'

Mishustin sits in caretaker role only.

Posted by: 07564111 | Jan 15 2020 22:35 utc | 51

Let's remember that it was under the 'scare' of the parliamentary overthrow/coup against Yeltsin that the influencing American empire pushed for a much stronger presidency, giving major powers to Yeltsin as president - which then the Americans deemed awful/authoritarian under Putin. The presidential powers allowed Putin to centralize a lot of the powers needed to reign in regional fiefdoms and the possibility of a federation breaking up with little central control. I have noted in a number of exchanges that Putin has had that he has feigned some interest in a more parliamentary system. The local judiciary (justices of the peace) apparently are one area, along with taxation, where the federal system has started to give positive results. I don't know if it is robust enough to warrant major moves back to a parliamentary system and de-centralization. But certainly at some high structural level, Putin would prefer to reign in the autocratic looking presidency.
The other issue is this whole double residency issue: note that the rich Russians all like to have double citizenship. They have funds offshore, live a lot of the time there, and this precludes the vast majority of the oligarchy from the highest political aspirations. So it is both an insistence on making sure that a president will be formed and informed primarily from Russia, as well as keeping the top business class at arms length from executive political power.

Posted by: Josh | Jan 15 2020 22:55 utc | 52

i've watched medvedev, read his speeches, followed his career since he transitioned to pm. i agree with smoothiesX12, medvedev is not the enemy. i believe the loss under yeltsin & the poisonous disgrace of his decision to support the west's criminal invasion of libya was life altering. i credit putin for seeing this realization & trusting him to have resolved to work now for the benefit of russia & to help him make amends through his work to restore russia & see her begin to attain her true potential. of course i may be a dreamer. we shall see if medvedev works for russia & her people or if as many assume he is a mole like lenin in equador & will betray country & people for the greater good of western banks.

Posted by: emersonreturn | Jan 15 2020 22:59 utc | 53

"The president has also suggested complementing Russia’s Constitution with a special requirement that a candidate running for the post of head state should be a resident of Russia for no less than 25 years and have neither foreign citizenship nor an overseas residence permit, not just at the moment of the election, but never before in the past."

The only item missing from this qualification to serve as President is age.

As well, Putin et al have provided a definition to natural born citizenship of which is a qualification under Article II of the U.S. Constitution. Gosh, I can't help but sense he learned something very valuable from recent U.S. presidential elections that will serve Russia's future quite well.

Lastly, once upon a time not so long ago duals couldn't hold key positions in the U.S. government primarily those jobs that dealt with national/foreign security.

Posted by: h | Jan 15 2020 23:04 utc | 54

Surely Russia was a superpower in 1815, when Russian troops occupied Paris.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 15 2020 23:09 utc | 55

Before b had posted this thread, I had posted a succint comment in the Open Thread on the nomination of the head of federal tax agency as a sign of major change i Russia, especially pointing at a will of fighting corruption in a more effective way, but also as a development precipitated by the recent events, which thus I labeled part of Soleimani´s curse.

I currently pay much less attention to what Putin has to say, since I had almost thrown the towel with him related to what for some time I held as a hope that he, due his origins, would be a kind of socialist undercover waiting for the right time to go out in the openv...I desisted with him seeing how he centers so much in the high business people while achieving few improvements for the Russian masses, at least for what I see and deem from some Twitter accounts I follow lately...

Thus, we seem to agree that Putin the socialist he is not, and moreover has a way too much nasty view of the Bolshevik Project in spite of continuing basing all the Russian achievements on the pillars which at every aspect of economic and social development were laid during that period of Russian history.

Last year, during the same Federal Assembly adress, he seemd to express just the opposite view to that expressed today, praising the liberal system and the liberal government of Medvedev, which, he adviced, should continue in their posts to finish the multiple tasks for the Russian development they had been trusted with....

Thus, what happens now, that the Medvedev government has just completed its tasks and thus can be removed? Just a year after that statement? No, government porjects do not end so fast...

What have precipitated the tectonic change in Russia, have been the last developments in the ME unleashed by the murder by the US of such figure as Commander Soleimani
v
by summary execution, especially since Pompeo has given a new u-turn ot that assassination, declaring that far from being done to prevent an imminent attack on US embassies ( as he initially lied...) the assasssination was done as a "deterrent against foes"....

What Putin and his advisors are seeing here is the war coming, the wild stance of a US thug state going around stealing whatever they deem and killing whoever they want so as to prevail in a decaying liberal capitalist model which gives for no more...

What Putin has glimpsed is that he needs to build people and rally them behind him and the government as he has seen they rallied to mourn the son of the mason and hero of war in Iran...and that the people only does it for one of their own...one who sacrified during the war, one who protected them against evil demons trying to exterminate them...Yes, those incredible masses yearning in Avhaz, Mashhad, Teheran, have not only frightened many but also have shaken some consciousness even at spin doctors level, becauvse what they have seen there is power, the power of the people united, and union only possible when they feel the government cares about them and they are taken into account...

Yes, Putin sees himself in the same point Stalin was viewing himself at the verge of WWII. Putin has built an astounding military hardware machine, but has forgotten to build the human war machine, which is the most important, and this has been because he is/was va "true believer" of liberal capitalism and concretely the US model, as the heir of Yeltsin and previously of Sobchak....both liberals...

We are late, comrades, true believers or not, if you are not a fascist or from the group who unleash the fascists to keep their rate of profit growing always, we are all in the same trench...

What will save Putin, Russia, Europe, and the world will be, one more time, the suffered proletarian people, because in the hour of truth, they will fight, and they will do it not for those who during all these years have forgotten about them and have relegated them to gradual impoverishing conditions of life and labor which again bring echoes of slavery in the most wealthiest time of human history...

Yeah, the people will fight, because they want to survive, and after victory it will come the hour of reckoning and we finally will talk about "qué hay de lo nuestro"....

But, well, yet is possible that during his last visit to Damascus, Putin had a revelation and became a true believer in socialism....

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 15 2020 23:22 utc | 56


Hopefully there will be more than Parliamentary reforms, and Putin will act to put the Russian Central Bank back under control of the Russian government, rather than the IMF. According to the Russian Constitution, adopted in 1993, the Russian Central Bank "conducts operations and transactions stipulated by the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund and the agreements with the International Monetary Fund." In other words, the 1993 Constitution placed the Russian Central Bank effectively under the control of Western bankers, and it has repeatedly acted against the interests of Russia.

Posted by: Perimetr | Jan 15 2020 23:22 utc | 57

@ Jen Jan 15 2020 22:22 utc | 47

"The suggested new requirement that future Russian Presidents not be dual citizens, ..."

As I read it this will apply across the broader government and state agencies (e.g. judiciary) etc.
If so, then it is a clear signal on cleaning house (hence gov resignation etc) and a significant hurdle for certain tribal interests with ambitions to rule a 'globalized' world. Imo, this is the more significant of the proposals made in Putin's speech. Russia, and Russians first. If you are not 100% Russian (and local) then enjoy the scenery but keep out of government etc. Seems reasonable -- and likely to become a trend. Watch Germany. They may be the next to invite foreign visitors to better understand their place as guests.

Posted by: imo | Jan 15 2020 23:26 utc | 58

I don’t believe there is any great mystery about the latest moves. To understand better, to begin with one can read Putin’s federal assembly speech prior to the reshuffle/firing;

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/62582

Putin wants the 2020s to represent change that people want to feel apart from objective figures (growth in real incomes, better infrastructure, welfare safety net, healthcare). At the same time investments need to be made in future growth areas (eg AI) all while ensuring Russia remains sovereign and as little impacted by political, military, legal, financial, info warfare from abroad (is by the Empire). To do this he proposed a set of major constitutional amendments to the constitution that was written by Yeltsin in 1993 with a large US influence. This includes limiting Presidential authority on domestic matters on one hand, while strengthening the Russian character of various elected individuals.

As one can see from Russian polling organization Levada (which while pro-West in its analysis, has polls that align with the Russian state polling org), while Putin himself has high approval ratings, Medvedev does not link">http://www.levada.ru/indikatory/&xid=17259,15700023,15700186,15700190,15700256,15700259,15700262,15700265,15700271&usg=ALkJrhj19cYNRi5kLodsyfKsJbb4XSK6SA">link

Medvedev is reviled on one hand by nationalists and those on the right as too pro-West and by the communists as too pro-business, while the small pro-West continent (poll about 1-2% but a higher percentage of the intelligentsia) regard him as a Putin stooge. In either case there was great disappointment from various quarters in Russia when Putin re-appointed Medvedev as PM following his, Putin’s, reelection in 2018.

Putin has 4 full years before 2024 when his term expires. He seems to have made it clear that not only does he not want to serve beyond 2 consecutive terms (as the current constitution allows) but no one should serve more than 2, period (so max would be 12 - Putin would have served 20). So Putin wants to ensure that there is a strong political structure in place that can be stable while allowing change within that structure as the population is increasingly demanding, a tricky task with the Empire looking for weakness do bring Russia down. So Putin is preparing for an overhaul, a new young PM (tho only a year younger than Medvedev) admired by experts for his management and likability - and seems to be supported politically from the communists to the nationalists politicians - tho not yet widely known to the wider public, and grooming to begin for a new President in 4 years. In addition it is quite likely various other faces may change (Lavrov will be 70 in March and is rumored to be thinking of calling it a day soon).

The new PM will oversee the implementation of 12 National Projects at potentially more that are expected to significantly impact growth in a positive way as well as structural reforms (tho ones that the West will invariably pooh-pooh as too little; any reform that does not capitulate Russia to the status of European vassals is not good enough).

Long story short, Putin had to make his move at some point. In the Federal Assembly address he made it clear the time is now.

Posted by: Ludwig | Jan 15 2020 23:30 utc | 59

Putin may be concerned that he is next to be assassinated by the US "Inteligence Community” and its useful idiot. So he has a replacement who will always be apart from him.

Posted by: Jim Simmons | Jan 15 2020 23:39 utc | 60

@Perimetr | Jan 15 2020 23:22 utc | 57

Exactly. Globalization (via banking) is the front line and Putin is anticipating blow-back from the usual suspects (place any banking family name in here) but cleaning out the 'dual citizens' in the system. Smart move. Medvedev & Co clearly agree to start with a clean page. I do not subscribe to all the ideological themes of Sasha@56 but "What Putin and his advisors are seeing here is the war coming, . . . What Putin has glimpsed is that he needs to build people and rally them behind him and the government as he has seen they rallied" is relevant.

Posted by: imo | Jan 15 2020 23:43 utc | 61

@Ludwig | Jan 15 2020 23:30 utc | 59 -- some one has to come in an fuck up the formatting don't they. Why can't you read the effing instructions on how to deal with long links?

Posted by: imo | Jan 15 2020 23:45 utc | 62

Well now! That's a fine thing to encounter when you get a very late start to your daily investigation into and review of events! I have yet to read much of anything except for the comments here and a blurb there. My only comment now is the idea of making Russian Law superior to International Law in a way that's actually opposite of the US Constitution's Supremacy Clause which does the opposite, not that it's properly observed. There was the hint of something cooking when over the New Year very little of anything emanated from the Kremlin. Also, Putin's been very critical about the overall progress of the National Projects, some of which is clearly related to poor government performance due to problems in its structure.

It should also be remembered that the Economics and Business departments at Russian universities were captured by neoliberals where only their doctrines were allowed to be taught--a happening very similar to what occurred to elite US universities as testified to by Dr. Hudson and others.

Given the time of day, life's demands and other variables, I probably won't comment further until I read what Putin had to say. However, a few assumptions can be made: Putin's suggestions are aimed at making Russia stronger; Putin's reacting to popular demands for including more citizen input into the governing process; Putin may be considering establishing a position similar to that created by Kazakhstan's Nazarbayev for himself to remain engaged in guiding his nation while enjoying semiretirement. Reviewing Putin's statements made at the last Congress of his party might shed some additional light. Also recall there's no Vice-president in Russia, although a Prime Minister does; perhaps an attempt to create a better distribution of the balance of power in the event actual party politics erupt. Perhaps Putin's trying to establish Russia's version of democratic centralism. I'm certain more will become known over the next several days.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 15 2020 23:51 utc | 63

B, is it possible to have someone checking links to make sure they don't cause havoc?

Posted by: Maximus | Jan 16 2020 0:04 utc | 64

Medvedev gave the proximate reason for the government's resignation at the time -- to temporarily cut parliament out of the process of government under s.112 of the constitution.
The reason for doing that is what we don't know for sure. It could be interpreted as putting the country on a war footing, with Putin appointing a trusted henchman to the Russian security council.

Posted by: Figleaf23 | Jan 16 2020 0:43 utc | 65

@60

Putin may be concerned that he is next to be assassinated by the US "Inteligence Community” and its useful idiot

It is not just Putin's "concern", it is FSO's concern primarily and only complete ignoramuses deny the fact that practically anyone in D.C. (and Brussels) wants to see him assassinated. They have a visceral hatred for him and Russia and Russians in general for a number of reasons. Primarily because they know that behind their facade there is nothing--only corruption and petty egos. Well that, and many of them are pedophiles and treasonous scumbags.

Posted by: Smoothiex12 | Jan 16 2020 0:49 utc | 66

IMO @ 58:

Yes you are correct, I have just downloaded an English-language transcript of VVP's speech to the Federal Assembly.

I agree that the requirement on all politicians and on judges and senior people in the various Federal and State agencies not to have dual citizenship nor to have residency permits in other countries will be a significant reform if approved in a referendum. Though it will not necessarily stop foreign lobbying or other ways that foreigners will try to infiltrate and influence Russian government policy and programs. Universities, particularly prestigious ones in Moscow and St Petersburg with faculties of law and economics, appear to be notorious hotbeds for foreign infiltration and brainwashing. The choice of Mikhail Mishustin, with his educational background in systems engineering at a Moscow-based technological institute, as Prime Minister (caretaker at present) may well be significant.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 16 2020 1:42 utc | 67


This article from RT;

Long goodbye

Today, the president set out the roadmap for his exit from the Kremlin, more-or-less kicking off the build-up to the transition of power. He will step down in 2024, or perhaps even earlier, and he intends to dismantle the “hyper-Presidential” system which allowed him to wield so much control in office. This was introduced by Boris Yeltsin in 1993 with American support, after he had used tanks to fire on the Parliament.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/478381-russian-government-resignation-mishustin/

Posted by: Debs | Jan 16 2020 2:35 utc | 68

And this from RT;

"‘Russia in Global Affairs’ Editor-in-Chief Fyodor Lukyanov told RT that the change will be a step towards the “diversification of power” at a time when the country is being “increasingly governed in a ‘manual control’ mode and fully fixated on the president.”

It is an attempt to transform a super-centralized personified system of power into a more balanced and diversified one… with a strong president but not as strong as today.

“The resignation symbolizes the current ‘reboot’ of the political system” ahead of the 2021 parliamentary and 2024 presidential elections, Dmitry Badovsky, head of the Moscow-based Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies, told RT."


https://www.rt.com/russia/478340-government-resigns-russia-putin-medvedev/

Posted by: Debs | Jan 16 2020 2:44 utc | 69

Another from RT says this;

"‘Russia in Global Affairs’ Editor-in-Chief Fyodor Lukyanov told RT that the change will be a step towards the “diversification of power” at a time when the country is being “increasingly governed in a ‘manual control’ mode and fully fixated on the president.”

It is an attempt to transform a super-centralized personified system of power into a more balanced and diversified one… with a strong president but not as strong as today.

“The resignation symbolizes the current ‘reboot’ of the political system” ahead of the 2021 parliamentary and 2024 presidential elections, Dmitry Badovsky, head of the Moscow-based Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies, told RT."


https://www.rt.com/russia/478340-government-resigns-russia-putin-medvedev/

Posted by: Debs | Jan 16 2020 2:45 utc | 70

this is a smart move.. you know putin doesn't do anything without thinking it thru thoroughly.. it is looking for a smooth transition into the future when he is gone.. and of course as @ 66 smoothies response highlights - the freaks operating under outlaw us empire law will justify any murder on the basis of anything... so, it is yet another smart move by putin.. and, i am sure he has consulted within the group of smart people leading russia at present and see this as a prudent move.. i wish them every success..

Posted by: james | Jan 16 2020 2:49 utc | 71

VVP and the Russian DeepState know what they are doing. They are tweaking their constitution to provide stability for their future.
Everyone is digging for the next decade. It will be incredibly turbulent due to the forces at work.
Erdogan has set things up for 9 more years. Xi consolidated his power what? 5 years ago? Sisi in Egypt.
Everywhere I look I see strongman. Those countries without run the risk of being tsunami'd. I sincerely wish for Iran and Ukraine to straighten out there situation and lock it down. It will get very ugly.

Posted by: dorje | Jan 16 2020 2:54 utc | 72

Putin was just given full war powers by this sleight of hand B, thats why nobody is saying why.
Pomparse crossed the Rubicon yesterday threatening assassination to Russian and Chinese leaders for 'deterrence'.
One of the unwritten rules of MAD was broken, and this happens the next day ,along with Iran deviating from their
plans with an open threat.
They used to call this Mobilization, China will probably react next allowing for a day of face after Trumps trade deal, but it needs close watching because we're now in Game Theory territory and the moves are limited.
I don't think DC has the faintest idea of what they have set in motion.Hubris kills.
Another analyst I listen to has called it the Arch Duke Ferdinand moment, a similar bloodbath or a fast unraveling of the Empire,very fast, is coming.

Posted by: winston2 | Jan 16 2020 3:25 utc | 73

Outstanding comment!

Posted by: snorko | Jan 16 2020 3:29 utc | 74

@Grieved #10
Outstanding comment!

Posted by: snorko | Jan 16 2020 3:32 utc | 75

thank you, winston2, i appreciate your continuing to connect the dots.

Posted by: emersonreturn | Jan 16 2020 3:38 utc | 76

I had rather hoped that the name of the only truly great amerikan would not be used on this site as long as it is a spot used by warjunkies, plus some closet racists. Gene Debs spent most of ww1 (the amerikan years) in prison for preaching pacifism, that all wars only benefit the rich and killing the unrich, non-elites.
He also copped a lot of criticism from whitefella 'comrades' when as head of The American Railway Union he supported the Pullman workers who (even in 1894)had a workforce comprised of women & african americans, after George Pullman slashed their wages.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jan 16 2020 4:03 utc | 77

Sorry, can't fucking read it.

Thx you little shit.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | Jan 16 2020 4:11 utc | 78

All that talk and doubts about removing the limit on the number of terms are baseless. What "people were discussing" he referred to was just the removing of the word "consequential"/"successive". It was indeed the thing being discussed in the last month. That means nobody will serve for more than two terms anymore. For Medvedev, if he gets elected, it means no more than a single term, since he has had one already.

Posted by: Belomor | Jan 16 2020 4:57 utc | 79

It's very clear why the Prime Minister resigned. He has been given a new job. And he has accepted it.

Putin has created, in effect, a permanent war cabinet. Medvedev is meant to give it leadership. The two men have worked exceedingly well together over a long time. Period.

Putin wants that war cabinet operative now. All the legislators understand, and that's why they are moving so coherently and quickly.

Putin manages to do this while also reminding the state (and in particular its regional governments) that their primary responsibility is the well-being of its citizens, and that the necessary growth of the country depends on healthy children.

In Washington the parties are tearing each other apart. Within parties they are tearing each other apart. Between houses, the courts and the white house they are tearing each other apart. All of that is irrelevant noise. It keeps the American public engaged and ignorant. If you can kill a President and his brother and son, and pull off 9-11, what do the antics of democracy mean?

The Russians are very aware that the momentum for war has quickened and they are directly targeted. They are trying to find a way to continue their national growth while preparing for the twists and turns of expanding US aggression. They have re-organized the responsibilities of their governing structures to do so. It's all there in the document.

This is quiet but effective leadership from the top at its historic best.

Posted by: Castellio | Jan 16 2020 5:20 utc | 80

Another unreadable do to a broken link. Alas, perhaps b doesn't feel his work is important enough to be readable.

Posted by: Another unreadable | Jan 16 2020 5:46 utc | 81

Some idiot has screwed up the entire formating of the page and now it has become unreadable..


Ludwig | Jan 15 2020 23:30 utc | 59

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Jan 16 2020 5:46 utc | 82

Annie #12

Why Putin chose this man is beyond all comprehension to me.

Thank you for you entire post and I share those thoughts. Perhaps Putin wanted to keep Medvedev somewhat pacified and close to his chest to allay any chance of a colour revolution breaking out.

I recall a couple of years back John Helmer at Dances with Bears expressing stern opinions about the fifth column being a threat to Putin. As of this time Helmer has not posted on Putins statement but I look forward to what might be said.

It must now be clear though for Putin that the past three years of extreme Russophobia can only mean that once again (STILL !) the west seeks to destroy Russian self determination and that a homeland tactical manoeuvre is essential lest the belligerents do a 'Ukraine' on the entire Russian Federation.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 16 2020 6:17 utc | 83

winston2 #73

Thank you. I hope you are entirely wrong, but I fear you may be absolutely correct.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 16 2020 6:40 utc | 84

Lol, didnt take long before some retard just had to come along and completely fuckup the formatting.

Well done retard Ludwig. You win the daily-retard competition, by a country mile

Posted by: Realist | Jan 16 2020 7:56 utc | 85

I'm glad President Putin did the right thing for his country. (as always) Mishustin sounds like a tough dude. And I'm super glad that debsisdead is not dead!

Posted by: lex talionis | Jan 16 2020 8:20 utc | 86

Perimetr @ 57

"Hopefully there will be more than Parliamentary reforms, and Putin will act
to put the Russian Central Bank back under control of the Russian government,
rather than the IMF. According to the Russian Constitution, adopted in 1993,
the Russian Central Bank "conducts operations and transactions stipulated by
placed the Russian Central Bank effectively under the control of Western bankers,
and it has repeatedly acted against the interests of Russia."

I believe you are quoting: RUSSIAN FEDERATION

FEDERAL LAW
On the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (Bank of Russia)

rather than the Russian Constitution which reads:

Chapter 3. The Federal Structure: Article 75

1. The monetary unit in the Russian Federation shall be the rouble.
Money issue shall be carried out exclusively by the Central Bank
of the Russian Federation. Introduction and issue of other currencies in
Russia shall not be allowed.
2. The protection and ensuring the stability of the rouble shall be the major
task of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, which
it shall fulfil independently of the other bodies of state authority.

3. The system of taxes paid to the federal budget and the general principles
of taxation and dues in the Russian Federation shall be
fixed by the federal law.
4. State loans shall be issued according to the rules fixed by the federal law
and shall be floated on a voluntary basis. [emphasis added]


See also: Article 76

1. On the issues under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation federal
constitutional laws and federal laws shall be adopted and have direct action
in the whole territory of the Russian Federation.

2. On the issues under the joint jurisdiction of the Russian Federation and
subjects of the Russian Federation federal laws shall issued and laws and other
normative acts of the subjects of the Russian Federation shall be adopted according to them.

3. Federal laws may not contradict the federal constitutional laws.[emphasis added]

winston2 @ 73 and Castellio @ | 80 respectively


Agreed: "Putin was just given full war powers by this sleight of hand B, thats why nobody is saying why.
Pomparse crossed the Rubicon yesterday threatening assassination to Russian and Chinese leaders for 'deterrence'.


"Putin has created, in effect, a permanent war cabinet. . . .The Russians are very aware that the momentum for
war has quickened and they are directly targeted. "

Posted by: pogohere | Jan 16 2020 8:25 utc | 87

Dear Debsisdead,

if you are still the same Debsisdead who commented here for years in the past I greet you as a comrade. I'm still the same thomas who commented here for some years, esp. during the times of the urkainian crisis in 2014 and tried to chase away the open fascists and warmongers. But the problem is the owner of the site itself - in his view the murder of 176 human beings in a plane is just: "shit happens".

See my last post in a different thread here on Jan 13:

b @ 37: A great part of the problems we're facing in the world are people like the owner of this site who sit somewhere in an appartment in a city like Hamburg and playing world strategists deciding about who has to die and where, and being proud of a higher rank military background like being an officer in the german army, the Bundeswehr. I'm from that same generation here in Germany and know: everybody with a little bit of a brain left in his head refused to become a part of that successor army of the fascist Wehrmacht, rather refused to serve there and even went to jail - like me for 9 months.

Particular idiots and mostly right wing war mongers and racists in the Bundeswehr were those who opted for the higher ranks, most of them were just fighting the lost battles of Wehrmacht in WWII again. They are indistinguishable from assholes like the Donbass killers Sergej Dubinski, the rebel commander Strelkov/Igor Girkin, Oleg Pulatow, and Leonid Kharchenko who brought down the MH17 flight and killed nearly 300 civilians.

From the words of b and many others here who pretend to be reasonable and experienced you only hear a total disregard of human lives, esp. if these belong to civilians, a disregard of any democratic procedures and people's wills and so they resemble the old Wehrmacht officier's caste as well as the Nato warmongers who they pretend to fight against.

"Shit happens" - maybe also in Hamburg

Posted by: b | Jan 12 2020 19:37 utc | 37

@all -Why was the Tor system placed where it was.

Bidganeh, where it was deployed to, is a strategic missile production and test area.In 2011 a large explosion occurred there, likely from Israeli sabotage. In 2018 there were (false) rumors that Iran was using the site to build intercontinental missiles.

I have now added this information to the above piece.

It was very reasonable to deploy a system to that site. Unfortunately it lacked the appropriate level of communication. But while Iran has some modern weapons most are still relatively old. Its military has to work with what it has. Not every MANPAD equipped soldier can have the full picture of the aerial situation. Shit happens.

Posted by: thomas | Jan 13 2020 15:41 utc | 147


Posted by: Debsisdead | Jan 16 2020 4:03 utc | 77

I had rather hoped that the name of the only truly great amerikan would not be used on this site as long as it is a spot used by warjunkies, plus some closet racists. Gene Debs spent most of ww1 (the amerikan years) in prison for preaching pacifism, that all wars only benefit the rich and killing the unrich, non-elites.
He also copped a lot of criticism from whitefella 'comrades' when as head of The American Railway Union he supported the Pullman workers who (even in 1894)had a workforce comprised of women & african americans, after George Pullman slashed their wages.

Posted by: thomas |

Posted by: thomas | Jan 16 2020 8:37 utc | 88

My interpretation of the suggested changes to the constitution and form of government, is that these are all in preparation for Putin's departure from the post as head of state. Furthermore, they are indicative of an uncertainty around the character of the future president, and guarantee a venue for loyalists to retain a semblance of power or, in the worst case scenario, regain it with public support. Thus, there either is no preferred candidate to the post or, if there is, he/she is either not completely reliable or not reliably electable.

Posted by: Skiffer | Jan 16 2020 8:56 utc | 89

And, sorry for double-posting, but any future president will not be able to serve more than two terms, at least if the constitutional amendment is accepted. I haven't been able to thoroughly read through the thread, as I am pressed for time, so if I'm stepping on someone's toes or repeating points that have already been made, I apologize once more.

Posted by: Skiffer | Jan 16 2020 9:02 utc | 90

Maximus A 64

Probably not as it's expensive and time consuming, and b runs this site on a shoestring. Everybody should learn how to use the "a" tag to add links, it's very simple and the syntax is just above the comment box, even if that now puts it somewhere to the right of Mussolini. And then they should learn to always use the preview button before they post.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 16 2020 9:50 utc | 91

Thomas #88

That was a bitter spit. I find this site infomative and fruitful and a rarity in this crazy world. Our host b makes us feel at home and respected and I find many comrades commenting here mighty well informed and erudite.

If your travels in cyberland have revealed sites of interest and remotely as good as moa then share them with us.

But please trust in our capacity to sort the wheat from the chaff and keep cheap shots confined to whiskey rather than people.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 16 2020 10:16 utc | 92

@92 uncle T - I must agree. And to use bellingcat as a source to smear b. I guess Thomas is of the opinion that the MH17 was shot out of the sky by the "Russian backed separatists in the Donbass." humm. oh well. at least there are no sticks and stones on the interweb.

Posted by: lex talionis | Jan 16 2020 10:28 utc | 93

Russia, the hope of the world.

USA's Great psychic
Edgar Cayce, and so true.

My trust is in Putin, Lavrov and Shoigu.
The only trust I still have on an internaional level.
Whatever they plan - is OK by me, and reform we need.
The system on this planet is now feudal - reduced to robber barons and increasingly little more than serfdom for most of the rest of us.
Robber barons with so much of the wealth of the world they have reduced democracy to a sick joke as they buy whole governments.
The USA is now the greatest terrorist threat we have faced in our known world history, bandits killing and looting whole nations and their people.
A show down is coming and President Putin is planning to pre empt it for Russia at least and hopefully for the rest of us.
Thank God!
Some great comments - not least Bevin as usual...
Thanks b, thanks all.

Posted by: Emily | Jan 16 2020 11:34 utc | 94

I agree with the commenters who attribute this sudden announcement to the extra-judicial murder of Iran's Soleimani. Russia's intervention in Syria, to restore Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity (per RT.Com last week) AND Russia's proxy support for Haftar in Libya, suggest to me that Russia has decided to become AmeriKKKa's worst nightmare.

In two years time I expect Russia to be 'meddling' in EVERY US Regime Change op in the world - with lethal force when appropriate. It must have, and must appear to have, a completely decentralised power structure in order to capitalise on every opportunity to thwart the Yankees which arises - from day to day.
Pretty soon Russia will be assassination proof...
I haven't checked but the new rules on residency and citizenship will probably enable Russia to neuter Navalny (MI6/CIA).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 16 2020 12:07 utc | 95

Putin Consolidates Power

And how does CNBC report this? ... Dracula Vladimir the Impaler consolidates power ...
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/15/russian-government-has-resigned-report-says-citing-pm.html

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | Jan 16 2020 12:31 utc | 96

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 16 2020 12:07 utc | 95

I haven't checked but the new rules on residency and citizenship will probably enable Russia to neuter Navalny (MI6/CIA).

Navalny is nobody and nothing in real politics compared to the so-called liberals who have dual Russian-Israeli citizenship (Jewish lobby).

Posted by: Sarah | Jan 16 2020 12:35 utc | 97

Thomas 147

176 human beings in a plane is just: "shit happens".

So you think those 176 sadly dead people are special.
B puts it into perspective.
Every day 176 people die horribly.
Shit happens.
Vastly more than 176 people - probably more like 176,000 people.
Shit happening.
Are you going to come on each day and take the time to lament the 176,000, ever mind the 176?
If not I fail to understand your attitude to B - who, being a realist, in this rotten world of ours - gets to the crucial points.

Posted by: Emily | Jan 16 2020 12:36 utc | 98

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 15 2020 23:51 utc | 63

Putin may be considering establishing a position similar to that created by Kazakhstan's Nazarbayev for himself to remain engaged in guiding his nation while enjoying semiretirement.

This your assumption has good reason to be true. I see you are well aware of the politics of the countries of post-Soviet space.

Posted by: Sarah | Jan 16 2020 12:59 utc | 99

I have to second Sarah @97. Navalny is self-neutering. It is actually good for the Russian political system to have these obvious US State Department tools floating around for Russian comedy shows to make fun of. The loss of a good source of laughs is the true tragedy of that Nemtsov fool's CIA liquidation murder.

Most of the Russian people want less neoliberlism not more. Unless/until there is a fascist backlash against the weakness of the left in Russia like we are seeing in the West these guys that western mass media try to legitimize as "opposition" will remain nothing more than political clowns.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 16 2020 13:21 utc | 100

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