The government of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who had been in the role since 2012, submitted its resignation hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping changes to the Constitution that would redistribute the powers between the president and parliament.
In an abrupt move on Wednesday, Russia’s Prime Minister Medvedev announced that his entire government would resign.
Medvedev’s cabinet will continue to work in a caretaker capacity until a new government is formed.
Putin offered to name Medvedev as deputy chairman of the Security Council, an advisory body under the President in charge of strategic planning relating to national security affairs.
How does the Russian government work?
According to the current Constitution, adopted in 1993, the government exercises executive power; it drafts and implements the federal budget and carries out the national policy in the sphere of finance, foreign policy, education, healthcare, culture, science, and so on.
The government may submit its resignation to the President who also has the power to dissolve it. Another way to dissolve the government is for the Duma, the lower house of parliament, to pass a motion of no confidence, which can be vetoed by the President.
The President appoints the Prime Minister with the Duma’s consent; Vladimir Putin appointed Dmitry Medvedev as prime minister twice, in 2012 and in 2018, after winning presidential elections.
The President also appoints the deputy heads of government (there are 10 of them in the current cabinet) and the federal ministers at the Prime Minister’s suggestion. It is in the President’s power to dismiss both the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers.
What is to change?
In a move that looks set to significantly boost the power of parliament, Vladimir Putin called for changes to the Constitution that would enable the Duma to select the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers instead of the President.
Having announced the redistribution of power, Putin has stressed that Russia still needs to remain a “strong presidential republic”. According to Russian law, Putin now has two weeks to appoint a new Prime Minister.
Lawmakers have already started drafting the legislation to put Putin’s proposals into practice.