Russian opposition figures have raised questions about how Vladimir Putin’s surprise choice for new prime minister has acquired millions of dollars in property, as the State Duma hurriedly confirmed Russia’s first new premier since 2012.
The Russian president’s allies have rushed to support Mikhail Mishustin, the former head of Russia’s tax service, who claimed to have been stunned and “not [to have] slept all night” after Putin named him as the replacement for Dmitry Medvedev.
Supporters have praised Mishustin’s credentials as a technocrat and a “self-made man”. State television also boasted of Mishustin’s accomplishments in modernising Russia’s tax collection system, calling it “the best system in the world”.
Mishustin was confirmed by parliament on Thursday. No MPs in the State Duma voted against his candidacy, although Communist lawmakers abstained from the vote.
Speaking before parliament, Mishustin said he wanted to “restore trust” with businesses, and he focused on social concerns, saying “people should already now be feeling real changes for the better”.
Mishustin’s appointment is part of a sweeping reorganisation of the government that will help enable Putin to maintain power after his expected exit from the presidency in 2024 under term limits. Analysts said Mishustin may play a role as a “caretaker” figure but was unlikely to be Putin’s long-term successor.