Support The Moscow Times!

'Nothing Fell Apart': Putin Speaks on Shock Cabinet Reshuffle

Putin spoke with the state-run TASS news agency for its project dedicated to his two decades in power. Screenshot TASS / Youtube

President Vladimir Putin has dished on Russia’s cabinet reshuffle for the first time since his sweeping shake-up of the government which led to the resignation of his longtime ally, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, last month.

Putin replaced Medvedev with little-known former tax chief Mikhail Mishustin as part of a wider push to jump-start Russia’s economy, accelerate state spending on major national projects and change the Russian Constitution. 

Here’s what Putin told the state-run TASS news agency in the first installment of its project dedicated to his two decades in power:

— On the breakup of the Putin-Medvedev “tandem”:

“Nothing fell apart.”

“We are working with Dmitry Anatolyevich like we used to. He has switched to another track in his career. That’s true. And natural, too.”

— On his decision to fire and replace Medvedev: 

“We had discussed [Medvedev’s replacement] earlier and he knew what was going on.”

“We have enjoyed very frank, collegial, friendly relations with Dmitry Anatolyevich for many years. We have no secrets from one another. So we discussed this issue with him.”

“[When asked who else knew about his plans] I did. Isn’t that enough?”

“[When asked about when he reached the decision] It’s a secret.”

— On choosing Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin:

“No one mentioned Mishustin except me… Three, or maybe even four candidates were submitted. But Mishustin was not on the list.”

“I took Mikhail Vladimirovich’s personal traits and professional skills into account. ... He is good practitioner who understands what needs to be done, knows how to do it and does it, achieving a concrete result.”

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

The Moscow Times’ team of journalists has been first with the big stories on the coronavirus crisis in Russia since day one. Our exclusives and on-the-ground reporting are being read and shared by many high-profile journalists.

We wouldn’t be able to produce this crucial journalism without the support of our loyal readers. Please consider making a donation to The Moscow Times to help us continue covering this historic time in the world’s largest country.