In 1999, when Boris Yeltsin announced the name of his new prime minister, foreign diplomats wondered: “Poutine who?” “. Twenty-one years later, Kremlin specialists had to dig through their files to find out who Mikhail Michoustin was, the new prime minister chosen by Vladimir Putin after a day marked by the surprise announcement of a constitutional reform.
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The successor of Dimitri Medvedev, relegated to the passage to an honorary function, should not, except surprise, know a destiny comparable to that of Vladimir Poutine. “It is difficult to see in him a potential successor. He has no experience in political affairs nor popularity with the electorate, observes Tatiana Stanovaya, political analyst for the think tank R. Politik. Throughout his career, he is above all an efficient technocrat. “
A digital champion
Unlike the master of the Kremlin, Mikhaïl Michoustine did not come directly from the very influential mold of the silovikis, the representatives of the police (army, intelligence). This 53-year-old engineer is a high-ranking civil servant who has made a name for himself in the administration by skillfully managing the modernization of the tax service from 2010. Under his leadership, the growth in tax revenue amounted to nearly 70% in five years, he said in 1998 to the economic daily Vedomosti.
This digital champion defended the creation of a centralized database gathering all existing data on Russian citizens, and accessible to all administrations, facilitating the fight against tax fraud, a national sport in Russia.
Among high-ranking officials, he is said to be one of the few to have a detailed knowledge of information technology with which the head of the Kremlin was infatuated.
An ideologically neutral man
His managerial skills ended up attracting the attention of Vladimir Putin, whom he sometimes found on ice hockey fields, skates on his feet. “Mikhail Michoustin does not belong to the first circle of relatives of Vladimir Putin”, says Tatiana Stanovaya. He was never even affiliated with a clan or another. “If he has very good relations with Alexis Koudrine (Editor’s note: the president of the Court of Auditors and leader of the liberals in Moscow), they are not allies, adds Tatiana Stanovaya. Mikhaïl Michoustine is not a reformer. “
Unsurprisingly honored by parliament on Thursday, January 16, the new Prime Minister of Vladimir Putin has promised to “Real changes for the better” during his first and brief official speech. Nothing indicates, however, in his remarks or those of Vladimir Putin during his speech to the nation on January 15, a deep inflection of the economic policy of the regime, apart from some social “gifts”, such as the increase in premiums of births granted to Russian families.
“The appointment of Mikhaïl Michoustine as Prime Minister is a simple technical adjustment, Jean-Robert Raviot, professor of Russian civilization at the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre. The latter comes in line with the Fradkov and Zoubkov, technocratic, not to say technical, prime ministers of the 2000s. ” The appointment of his government, expected within a week, will be a good indicator of his room for maneuver, between the head of the Kremlin on one side and the speaker of parliament on the other.