It has been reported that the prime minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, along with his entire government, has resigned today completely unexpectedly.
Following the annual presidential address to the federal assembly by Vladimir Putin, prime minister Medvedev made the announcement that he and his government would step down. While it is not clear at this time what specifically promoted this sudden move, the Medvedev said that Putin had proposed a number of “fundamental” amendments to the constitution, which will drastically alter the relationship between the executive, legislature and executive.
In response, Putin merely thanked members of the government while noting that “not everything worked out.” He has also asked for all members of the cabinet to remain in post until replacements can be found.
It has also now been made clear Putin had offered Medvedev a newly created post of deputy secretary of the Security Council, a body of the president that helps to coordinate and advise on decisions related to national security. Putin is the body’s current chairman in his capacity as president of the Russian Federation. Medvedev is expected to accept the role.
The move comes as Putin looks set to alter the constitution to allow him to stay in power. As things stand, a Russian president can serve no more than two consecutive terms. These rules saw Putin and Medvedev swap roles in 2008 as Putin (who had served as president since 2000) became prime minister and Medvedev become president for four years. In 2012, they switched roles. However, even while prime minister, Putin was widely perceived to be in control of Medvedev’s presidency.
The news has shocked Russians and foreigners alike. It is thought that the proposed constitutional changes will help Putin stay in power after his term expires in 2024. The changes proposed are due to be put to what Putin called a “people’s vote.”