Russia gets new government in what Putin calls 'major shake-up'

Russia now has a new government.

Approved by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday (January 21), it keeps many veteran and senior ministers in place, but brings in a new economy minister and a new first deputy prime minister.


"Good day, dear colleagues. First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your appointment to high positions in the government of the Russian Federation. I am confident that this will be a serious test in the lives of each of you and a serious event. I sincerely wish you success. Not only you are invested in your own success, not only all of us in this hall now, but the entire country is invested in it."

The new government was formed less than a week after Putin unveiled a sweeping shake-up of the political system, which led to the resignation of Dmitry Medvedev as prime minister along with his entire government.

Putin went on to pick Mikhail Mishustin, a 53-year-old with almost no political profile, as his new prime minister.

According to the Kremlin, the finance, energy, agriculture and defence ministers have kept heir jobs,as well as Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Putin's wider shake-up, which envisages changing the constitution, is widely seen as preparing the ground for 2024, when Putin, now 67, is obliged to leave the presidency after occupying the Kremlin or the prime minister's job continuously since 1999.

Critics have long said Putin, a former KGB officer, wants to stay on in some capacity after his term ends so that he can wield power over the world's largest nation and one of its two biggest nuclear powers.