Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced his resignation and that of a number of other senior officials in a television speech on Wednesday.
President Vladimir Putin, Medvedev’s long-time mentor and ally, praised the Prime Minister and noted that the Medvedev cabinet had failed to achieve certain goals.
The resignation took place immediately after Putin handed over the country address. In the speech, as reported in the Turkish newspaper The Sabah dailyPutin called for an amendment to the Russian constitution to increase the legislature’s power to appoint prime ministers and cabinet members.
At the same time, Putin argued that Russia would not remain stable under a parliamentary system of governance and that the president should retain the power to fire parliamentary appointments and retain control over the country’s military and law enforcement agencies.
Putin’s current term ends in 2024 and, under applicable law, he must step down. According to CNN, the proposed reforms would weaken Putin’s successor and shift power to the post of Prime Minister of Parliament, to which Putin could ultimately transfer.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny accused the president of the changes as a trick to help him stay in power even after he resigned.
“The only goal of Putin and his regime is to keep the responsibility for life, to consider the whole country as his personal capital and to use his wealth for himself and his friends,” Navalny wrote on Twitter.
Putin has been leading Russia for over 20 years, longer than any other Russian leader since Josef Stalin. From 2008 to 2012, Medvedev took over the presidency, while Putin became prime minister. However, it was generally understood that Putin should retain final control over the government during this period.