Russia’s President Putin picks little-known tax chief for prime minister

Russian Tax Service chief Mikhail Mishustin attends a meeting with Russian President in Moscow on November 21, 2019. (Photo by Mikhail KLIMENTYEV / SPUTNIK / AFP)


MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday proposed the little-known head of Russia’s tax service Mikhail Mishustin for the post of prime minister, the Kremlin said.

The proposal to appoint 53-year-old Mishustin, a relatively obscure figure who has run the service since 2010, came after the surprise resignation of Putin ally Dmitry Medvedev following the president’s unveiling of a package of constitutional reforms.

The two met in the Kremlin where Putin “suggested to him that he take the post of the head of government” and he accepted, the Kremlin said in a statement.

According to Russia’s constitution, Mishustin should face a vote of approval in the Russian parliament within a week.

Parliament’s lower house, the State Duma, will review his candidacy on Thursday, Russian news agencies said.

The overwhelmingly pro-Kremlin body is unlikely to reject Putin’s proposal.

Mishustin is a “neutral figure” and does not seem like someone who is being groomed as Putin’s successor, political analyst Ekaterina Schulmann told AFP.

He worked in the information technology industry in the 1990s before entering the Federal Tax Service in 1998.

He also ran the UFG investment group from 2008 until his appointment to head the tax service in 2010, according to his official biography.

Mishustin is credited with making the Russian tax service highly efficient and supports electronic government services for the public.

Russian President Putin proposed the candidature of Mishustin, currently head of the Federal Tax Service, for prime minister after the resignation of the entire Russian government earlier on Wednesday.

“The council of the State Duma has corrected the chamber’s agenda for January 16 to consider the prime minister candidature,” the press service said.

Earlier in the day, the press service said that the Duma council was holding an extraordinary session with Mishustin.

According to Sergey Mironov, the chair of Just Russia party, all factions of the Duma will meet with Mishustin on Thursday morning.

(with a report from Russia’s Sputnik News Service)