Russia’s government, including Energy Minister Alexander Novak, resigned on Wednesday in an unexpected move after President Vladimir Putin said that he would be looking to make amendments to the Russian constitution.
Putin’s proposals for constitutional amendments include giving more powers to the Parliament.
In an address to the Russian Parliament earlier on Wednesday, Putin said that he wants to put the proposed constitutional amendments to a nationwide vote because the amendments would change the balance of powers and the political system, as well as the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches in Russia.
Putin’s push for constitutional amendments comes four years before his second consecutive and last—under the current Constitution—six-year term in office as president expires in 2024. According to the Russian constitution, a president cannot sit in office for more than two consecutive terms.
Russia’s now outgoing Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev switched roles with Putin in the 2008-2012 period, after which Putin returned to serve as president of Russia.
Medvedev tendered in the resignation of his whole government on Wednesday to allow the president room to prepare for the discussion of the constitutional amendments, the outgoing prime minister said at a meeting of the cabinet with Putin.
The outgoing ministers, including Energy Minister Novak, will serve as acting ministers until a new government is formed.
According to BBC’s correspondents, the possible candidates to replace Medvedev as prime minister include Novak, as well as the outgoing economy minister Maxim Oreshkin, and the mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin.
Whoever takes over Russia’s energy ministry, they will have to hold a communication channel open to OPEC and its leader Saudi Arabia, because Russia has been instrumental in the ongoing OPEC+ oil production cuts. Still, Russia’s energy policy in the global oil and gas markets will continue to be dictated by Putin.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Russia's ruling political party United Russia has unanimously approved the candidacy of Mikhail Mishustin for prime minister, the State Duma speaker's aide, Anastasia Kashevarova, said on Thursday.
Russia’s strategic alliance with China is already changing the global political order and is emerging as the dominant force that will shape the globe in the next two decades.
One of Putin’s great achievement has been the diversification of the economy enabling it not only to withstand the most intrusive US sanctions but also to be able to live with $40 a barrel.
Therefore any changes to the Russian constitution enabling president Putin to serve Russia as long as he is fit and well should be welcomed by the Russian people.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London