Putin Stirs the Swamp
In his annual state of the nation speech on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin set out his plans for widespread reform of power structures in the Russian government. In other words, his next set of constitutional acrobatics that will allow him to remain a latter-day tsar.
The dismissal of his current government was swift to follow, with former President-switcheroo Dimitry Medvedev being ousted from the premiership. His replacement is the handpicked swamp-creature Mikhail Mishustin, who incidentally has a net worth of some $10 million.
Mishustin is a fellow ice-hockey enthusiast and is known to enjoy occasional games with President Putin. Presumably he must let him win a lot.
The 67-year-old President said in the same speech that he wants to transfer more power from the executive to the legislature and expand the constitutional powers of the State Council, an advisory body in which rumour has it he will soon take a leading role… funny that.
Political analyst Maria Lipman has explained the developments as Putin wanting to ‘stay on as number one in the country, without any competitors’ – he wants to deliberately weaken the role of the President before handing it to someone else.
Ergo, if Putin can’t be President, no one can. Meanwhile, ‘opposition’ leader Alexei Navalny accused Putin of wanting to remain the ‘sole leader for life’. Although, Putin might take that as a compliment rather than an accusation.
The Russian President is still set to exit the Kremlin on the back of a wild bear in 2024, as is mandated by the constitution, but a process of legal change is set to soon begin.
Gathered around a roundtable of titanic proportions, Putin commanded his 75 handpicked apparatchiks to watch ‘every letter, every comma’ in their changes to the way the country is governed.
A public vote of consent may be organised, though being the sinister despot democratically elected leader he is, Putin has ruled out any kind of formal referendum on the issue.
For now, the exact detail of the plans remain a mystery and Putin continues to stir Russia’s swampy bureaucracy.