The Russian President seems to have come up with a creative and viable way to get around that pesky two-term office limit thing. Barack Obama wishes he had thought of it. Get the entire government to quit, then reshuffle yourself back into power.
Vladimir Putin set the wheels in motion for a clandestine power grab, calculated to keep him meddling in official government affairs for many years to come. Starting with “flipping the script” in Iran.
Putin laid out the details of his scheme on television during his state-of-the-nation speech. “Russia should remain a strong presidential republic, so the president should have the right to determine the tasks and priorities of the government as well as the right to remove the Chairman of the Government, his deputies and federal ministers in case of improper performance of their duties or due to loss of trust.”
After being in power for nearly 20 years, he legally must relinquish the Presidency at the end of his current term, and he’s not ready to give up the reins of power.
In a move that caught everyone totally by surprise, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev dutifully accepted his fate, and graciously tendered a resignation Wednesday on behalf of the entire government.
The Prime Minister issued a statement on Russian state television explaining, Putin “outlined a number of fundamental changes to the constitution, significant changes not only to a number of articles of the constitution, but also to the balance of power as a whole.”
“In this context, it’s obvious that we, as the government… should provide the president of our country with the opportunity to make all the decisions necessary for this. And in these conditions, I believe that it would be right, in accordance with Section 117 of the constitution,” for the government to resign, CNN reports.
Putin immediately threw his loyal lap-dog a bone, the vice-chairman job on the Security Council. Putin thanked the members of the government for their work, while noting “of course not everything worked out, but nothing ever works out in full.”
“I know that a constitutional provision is being discussed in our society that the same person should not be president for more than two consecutive terms,” Putin assured. “I don’t think this is a fundamental issue, but I agree with that.”
Putin’s idea is “entrusting the State Duma with the power to approve the candidacy of the prime minister, and then, per the prime minister’s proposal, [appoint] all deputy prime ministers and federal ministers.”
Reuters notes that “Wednesday’s changes will be seen by many as the start of Putin’s preparations for his own political future when he leaves the presidency in 2024.” Whoever Putin names as Prime Minister will most likely be the next President.
Then after a four-year term, will step aside so Putin can run again. He did it before. “Putin stepped down from the presidency in 2008 to become prime minister under Medvedev, who then stepped aside four years later to allow Putin to resume the presidency.”
Meanwhile Putin has serious plans for the Middle-East. According to Business insider, “If there is one player in the dangerous drama unfolding in the Middle East with the ability to flip the script, it’s Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
Only hours before Iran launched their missile attack fireworks, Putin was in Damascus, visiting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The conflict in Syria highlights that “Russia has exactly zero appetite to confront and no ability to constrain Iran’s proxies, which are Tehran’s preferred way of projecting influence.”
The latest conflict over the assassination of General Suleimani opens the door for Putin to step in with new opportunities to undermine American credibility and expand Russia’s influence in the region.
According to security analyst Andrea Kendall-Taylor, “Putin sees pushing back against U.S. unilateralism as a personal mission and he is extremely opportunistic. He will therefore seek to capitalize on every opportunity he can to use the assassination of Suleimani and any ensuing instability to tarnish Washington’s reputation.”