The Russian government has handed in their resignation, according to reports by Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev. This was reported by a number of Russian media outlets, including Interfax-Russia.
The government’s resignation follows proposed major changes to the Russian constitution by the President Vladimir Putin, who is looking to ensure the constitution's supremacy over international laws in the country, as well as limit the power of his successor.
“In this context, it's obvious that we, as the government, should provide the president of our country with the opportunity to implement all necessary decisions for this. In these conditions, I believe, that it would be right, in accordance with Article 117 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, for the government of the Russian Federation to resign,” said the prime minister.
While Putin's fourth term as the president is due to end in 2024, he will be responsible for forming a new government in the meantime. He has announced that Mikhail Mishustin, the head of Russia’s federal tax service, will be the new PM.
What Preceded the Resignation?
Medvedev’s announcement comes just hours after Putin suggested major changes to the Russian constitution during his annual state of the nation address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow on January 15.
The biggest changes involve limiting the power of the president – specifically in the formation of a government, a name given to the Prime Minister and his cabinet. Ministers, according to the proposed changes, will be chosen by Parliament – not the president.
"I really do think that the time has come to introduce certain changes to the country's main law that will directly guarantee the Russian constitution is the priority in our legal space," Putin said during the address.
Another change proposed by Putin is to tighten background requirements for high-ranking officials, starting with presidential candidates – the head of state must reside in Russia for at least 25 years (as opposed to the current 10 years) and have no other nationality “not only during elections but also at any time earlier.”
Other high-ranking officials, including the Prime Minister, cabinet members, governors, heads of federal agencies, MPs and judges should also be barred from having foreign citizenship or foreign residence permit, Putin said.
Additional changes involve allowing the president to recall Supreme and Constitutional Court judges, abolishing the clause that forbids a president from serving consecutive presidential terms, and making the State Council, currently an advisory body, officially enshrined in the Russian constitution, as well as tying social payments, such as social security, to the Russian poverty line.