Putin Renews Mikhail Mishustin as Prime Minister of Russia

MOSCOW — On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin reappointed Mikhail Mishustin as the country’s prime minister after Mishustin’s previous term in the role. During his first term, the low-profile technocrat showed a distinct lack of political ambition.

In line with Russian law, Mishustin, 58, who held the job for the past four years, submitted his Cabinet’s resignation on Tuesday when Putin began his fifth presidential term at a glittering Kremlin inauguration.

Mishustin’s reappointment was widely anticipated by political observers, who noted that Putin has appreciated his skills and low political profile. Mishustin, the former head of Russia’s tax service, has avoided political statements and media interviews during his previous tenure.

The speaker of the parliament’s lower house, Vyacheslav Volodin, announced that Putin has submitted Mishustin’s candidacy to the State Duma, which will hold a session later Friday to consider it.

Under the constitutional changes approved in 2020, the lower house approves the candidacy of the prime minister, who then submits candidacies of Cabinet members.

Mishustin’s approval is a mere formality in the Kremlin-controlled parliament.

Mishustin and other technocrats in the Cabinet were credited for maintaining a relatively stable economic performance despite bruising Western sanctions.

Most Cabinet members are also expected to keep their jobs and their reappointments are expected shortly.

The fate of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu appeared uncertain, however, after last month’s arrest of his top associate, Timur Ivanov.

Ivanov, who served as deputy defense minister in charge of multibillion military construction projects, was arrested on bribery charges and was ordered to stay in custody pending official investigation.

The arrest of Ivanov was widely interpreted as an attack on Shoigu and a possible precursor of his dismissal despite his close personal ties with Putin.

Shoigu was widely criticized for Russian military’s setbacks in the early stage of the fighting in Ukraine. He faced scathing attacks from mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who launched a rebellion last June to demand the ouster of Shoigu and the chief of the General Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov.

After two months after the rebellion that was broadly widely seen as a Kremlin revenge for his mutiny, Shoigu appeared to shore up his position, but Ivanov’s arrest, seen as part of Kremlin’s political infighting, again exposed Shoigu’s vulnerability.