In a surprise move, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev resigned along with the entire cabinet of the country, the Russian state news agency. Tass reported Wednesday.
Medvedev made the announcement after Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed a series of constitutional changes that, according to Medvedev, would alter the country's balance of power. Medvedev has been a close ally of Putin for a long time. He has served as prime minister of Russia since 2012. Prior to that, he spent four years as president, 2008-12.
Mikhail Mishustin, head of the Russian tax agency, was appointed new prime minister.
Tass said that Putin thanked Medvedev for his service, but noted that the prime minister's cabinet did not meet all the established goals. The news agency said that Putin plans to appoint Medvedev as a deputy in the Russian Security Council. It was not immediately clear if Putin asked Medvedev to go and if his role in the Security Council, which he accepted, is a promotion or a decline in category.
Putin, who has been in power in Russia for more than two decades, is a former KGB officer who emerged from the shadows of Russian intelligence agencies when it was still the Soviet Union. Medvedev's resignation could be a sign that Putin wants to try to extend his term of 20 years after his term expires formally in 2024.
Putin also previously served as Prime Minister of Russia. When he changed jobs with Medvedev in 2012, the measure sparked large-scale protests in Russia.
At the end of last year, Putin hinted at possible constitutional amendments to redistribute powers between the president, the cabinet and the parliament. He did not specify what changes could be made. However, the announcement was seen as a sign that he intended to reduce the powers of the prime minister and continue to govern as president.
Under the existing constitution of Russia, Putin would not have the right to seek another presidential term within four years. The Russian constitution only allows presidents to serve two consecutive terms.
Some analysts have speculated that Putin could be maneuvering to become prime minister, with widely expanded powers, if he resigns in 2024. The paper, as currently understood, is subordinate to the president's office.
"Medvedev's rather bad treatment after such loyal service as chief butler and designated scapegoat," tweeted Mark Galeotii, an expert in Russia from the Royal Institute of United Services for Defense and Security Studies, a group of experts based in London.
President Donald Trump He joked several times about trying to extend his time in the White House beyond the two or four year mandates established by the Constitution.
"He is now president for life. President for life. No, it's great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it's great. We may have to try one day," Trump said in a speech for Republican Donors in 2008, talking about the president of China, Xi Jinping.