‘Medvedev’s resignation is a boon, especially in the light of the address’

Reaction to the president’s address in Russia and government’s resignation

After the president’s address to the Federal Assembly, longest-ruling Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced the resignation of the government in full. The Russian premier indicated a number of changes outlined by Vladimir Putin in the Constitution and “the balance of power in general”, therefore he called the decision to resign “correct” in these conditions. Putin thanked members of the government for joint work, “though not all worked”. Most of the governors, government members, deputies, political experts, economists, entrepreneurs and public activists surveyed by Realnoe Vremya agree with the Russian leader’s opinion that it is time for changes in the country and there is no sense in making them with the old government.

After announcing the resignation of the government, Vladimir Putin thanked members of the Cabinet of Ministers for their job and promised to meet each of them soon. At the moment he asked them to perform their duties to the full. The head of the country also claimed an intention to introduce a post of the vice chairman of the Security Council and offer it to Dmitry Medvedev.

In his address to the Federal Assembly, Putin offered to task the State Duma with not only agreeing but also approving the candidacy of the prime minister, which will seriously change the political system and make the interaction between representative and executive power more efficient.

  • Konstantin Kalachev

    Konstantin Kalachev campaign manager, head of Political Expert Group

    “What do people remember Medvedev for? “There is no money, but you stay strong”. Yes, undoubtedly, the performance of the government is evaluated as satisfactory. Social and economic development is the most important thing for the president. Growth paces are below the world’s average, the population’s incomes don’t grow. It is necessary that people believe in a better future, change the situation in the country. New limits of growth and development are needed. And Medvedev is an old horse that won’t spoil the furrow but won’t dig a new deep one. We should say him thank you and shake his hand. The most important thing is how markets, investors, businesses, the population will react to it.

    Medvedev’s resignation is a boon, without doubt, especially in the light of today’s address. We can’t be talking about a breakthrough and economic growth with the old government, which hasn’t managed to provide it. The challenges of our time are that it is necessary to go by the rule Napoleon used: one can’t allow people to get older on their post. Fresh blood is needed. We will see how fresh it will be. I think the reaction to Kudrin as a possible candidacy for the post of the premier is positive abroad too, especially among Russian businesses because it is an experienced person, the president trusts him. I wrote about it on Facebook just yesterday, just one day has passed, and this happened. It is a good signal. Russian businesses’ attractiveness has gone up in ratings, it is time to convert ratings into real actions.

    As for the announcement of the government’s resignation on the same day with the address means that life gets faster. It was logical to combine two things: the address and the country’s entrance to a new era.”

  • Andrey Kolyadin

    Andrey Kolyadin political expert, ex-employee of Russian president’s administration

    “We won’t understand root causes. As strange as it might sound, public politics in our country requires non-publicity. Perhaps, it happens because national projects aren’t implemented effectively enough. Perhaps, it happens because the government performed the tasks it was given. And a new stage of the upgrade, development in the country is needed, which was echoed in the president’s address that now superstructure will be changing and political reforms will be made. All this lead to the government’s resignation, and as I think, there will be a new government. We will likely learn what triggered this from the inner circle of the president or the president himself some time later.”

  • Yevgeny Minchenko

    Yevgeny Minchenko political expert, head of Minchenko Consulting communications holding

    “Power is reshuffling. Putin again proved the reputation as a master of unexpected combinations. Of course, in my opinion, it is the top news that even overshadowed Putin’s proposal to change the Constitution of the Russian Federation.”

  • Pavel Titov

    Pavel Titov Russian entrepreneur, president and board chairman of Abrau-Dyurso PJSC, president of Business Russia all-Russian public organisation

    “We are excited about this news. We hope that the goal of this resignation is some improvement in the government’s policy for businesses. But we also prefer some stability and succession. Not that the government has been disbanded matters but who will occupy the new positions. We need more information to understand the situation.

    We positively evaluate the president’s decision to reform control and supervision expressed in his address to the Federal Assembly. The tool to reduce the control and supervision load has already been determined, it is the so-called regulatory guillotine. Business Russia actively participates in developing this tool. The government hears us, and we see that there are certain results and common ground.

    As for social initiatives expressed by the president, we hope that the burden of financing of their implementation won’t fall on businesses, as businesses already actively participate in supporting state initiatives through tax levies. I think we are talking about the redistribution of money in public programmes, a part of which got obsolete.”

  • Nikolay Lyubimov

    Nikolay Lyubimov governor of Ryazan Oblast

    “I’ve just heard it. I think what the president has said today in the address has caused this decision. It was necessary to make this step so that a new composition of the government in the future will be approved according to the scheme the president has mentioned today.

    I am convinced that the steps the president announced were calculated in financial terms beforehand, and the main burden will anyway fall on the federal budget because most regions won’t handle it. But I am sure that we will provide the primary school with free meals, but in general I will repeat that it is the federal budget. I am sure that all this will be done by redistributing money from the National Wealth Fund, the president also mentioned it.”

  • Ilya Graschenkov

    Ilya Graschenkov political expert

    “There are two reasons for the resignation. Firstly, Putin needs a new prime minister to perform the instructions he mentioned in his address: they are social and require looking for money from the budget, which doesn’t have it now. This is why it will be hard for a new prime minister, he will have to make a lot of unpopular decisions, to become a lightning conductor like Medvedev did once.

    This is why I don’t exclude that Medvedev will try to clean his karma for these years, and by 2024 he will still be a good option as successor. By this moment, they can start to remember that under Medvedev we lived, for instance, better. This is why I think that this change is quite scheduled and linked with President Putin’s address.

    As for options of future prime ministers, I think there are several, but among key options, I would note Sobyanin and Kudrin. Sobyanin sticks to liberalism in economic policy, this is why in general he can continue the work that Medvedev began, he didn’t change the apparatus and ministries a lot. In this respect, Kudrin is more radical. I think he can chair the government in case it is necessary to act effectively and tighten our belt next time, for instance, reduce some ambitious projects, like digitalisation and so on. Or at least reduce financing. Of course, the list can have a lot of names — from Volodin to Shoigu to less famous ones.”

  • Oleg Matveychev

    Oleg Matveychev political expert and consultant

    “The president outlined new principles of formation of the government. Consequently, the government is resigning, as it was formed according to old principles. There will be formed a new government as a result of consultations. Otherwise, it can turn out that the president claims something, while others get relaxed and think: “We will meet up one day…” All decisions and statements of the president must be immediately executed, this is why it is a logical step. In addition, it is a reply to the request to upgrade power.

    As for the new prime minister, how can we know? How they will consult with the State Duma. Many support Medvedev: he has United Russia, which has the majority in the Duma. Some others will be against. We will see, it will be a big story. As for Kudrin’s candidacy, it is total rubbish.”

  • Viktor Tomenko

    Viktor Tomenko governor of Altai Krai

    “The president’s address is always an expected and important event in the political life of our country. The president paid a lot of attention to initiatives solving demographic problems. It is necessary to support families with children, improve the quality of health care, create new jobs, including for people who can’t do the tough manual job due to their age.”

  • Irek Zinnurov

    Irek Zinnurov State Duma deputy from Tatarstan, member of Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration, and Relations with Compatriots

    “Mr Putin’s today became sensational, there were outlined dramatic changes in demography, health care, science and public administration. The programme of maternity capital is not only prolonged but also it is raised by 150,000 rubles and applies to families with the first child. New measures of social support are introduced — payments to children from 3 to 7 years and free hot meals to 1st-4th-grade schoolchildren. Innovative measures of social support can truly be considered unprecedented. Nowadays before having a child, the young family carefully weighs out its financial possibilities because there is less income on maternity leave. I am sure that the novelties will help increase natality and considerably raise the Russians’ quality of life.”

  • Andrey Nechayev

    Andrey Nechayev first Russian economy minister, doctor of economic sciences

    “The news about the resignation came as a complete surprise for the government itself. And according to the facial expressions, it became a surprise to Medvedev too. A lot of complaints about the government can be made. The key complaint is about the absence of economic growth. I once wrote about it. There is a paradoxical situation: it is almost an ideal situation with public money and a complete absence of economic growth, social problems, solutions that raised questions and protests sometimes. For instance, the rise in the retirement age, the hike in VAT, which wasn’t needed at all, at least for financial reasons. We have a budget with a huge surplus. Or the same destruction of the pension system — savings were frozen again, which is very reckless, and we don’t give hundreds of billions back to people. It is a strange decision. But we will learn the real reason for the resignation after the name of the successor is given. I have enumerated the reproaches that can be objectively expressed to the government, but we understand that there is a fight of Kremlin clans, and I think the resignation of the government is to a certain degree is linked not with its objective mistakes, shortcomings and problems but with this fight, but we will get the answer only late in the evening or even tomorrow when we learn the name of the successor.

    As for new social obligations, which, as the president said, the government assumes, its costs are so tiny that it is even ridiculous to discuss them against the backdrop of the situation with the budget: this year’s surplus is 1,5 million, but it is scheduled for the next three years but in small volumes, over 8% of GDP in the National Wealth Fund, that’s to say, the situation with public money is absolutely good, and these pennies that will be spent on children’s meals are within the limits of rounding error. Moreover, as it is known, the president’s old friend Mr Prigozhin who provides public catering will get the biggest part of them, so money won’t leave the ‘family’.

    As for possible successors of Medvedev as prime minister, there can be several options. The range is wage. Mr Sechin was up for this seat. I think Mr Kudrin wouldn’t mind chairing it. But I can assume that as the president makes key decisions, there will be simply a technical premier we already had in the person of Fradkov or Zubkov.

  • Sardana Avksentyeva

    Sardana Avksentyeva head of Yakutsk

    “Talking about the resignation of the government and possible appointment of the head of the Federal Tax Service as premier, I can note that today it has been said in Mr Putin’s address that it is necessary to achieve higher incomes, but without increasing the tax burden. And the candidacy of Mishustin in this respect looks clear.

    The general course of the country due to the resignation of the government shouldn’t change because the leader is the same, and all global projects that were adopted for regions will be implemented. We, Yakutians, of course, are concerned about the bridge, but the president has a resolution for it, so I think we shouldn’t expect any surprises.

    As for the address in general, I can say that its content completely coincides with the ideas of residents of Yakutia, that a human decides everything, that a human is the biggest value, and it was important for us to hear it from the president. Social support for families is also very important. We heard about benefits for children from 3 to 7 years, it is a revolutionary decision. Attention was paid to dilapidated schools, it is also very important. Then it is children’s meals. A human’s physical health is founded in childhood, it is especially topical for us, northern people. Children should eat well to grow up healthy.

    As I am a municipal worker, I was very optimistic about the words about giving municipalities not only real power but also real opportunities. This level of power is the closest to people, but at the moment there is an obvious imbalance between functions and financing.”

  • Dmitry Azarov

    Dmitry Azarov governor of Samara Oblast

    “The president has very clearly expressed his position about possible future changes in the Constitution and principles of public administration. Mr Putin is a person who doesn’t get used to postponing his decisions for long, whose words coincide with actions. This is why after the address I wouldn’t say that the news about the resignation of the government sounded like a big surprise. As for the fast decision that was made, I think it is the style of our president who is a dynamic leader.

    As for the proposal to occupy the post of premier the president made to Mikhail Mishustin, we know that the tax service is today one of the most technologically advanced in the country. I think that the principles of high-tech management will be actively implemented by the government, which means by the regions too. New social obligations of the country the president named are well-thought-out and financially weighed out decisions. And these decisions are expected in society. The decision on maternity capital is very timely. It is very important for us now to stimulate the birth of the firstborn, there is demand for this in society. And the president who is always sensible to public demand expressed his offer today and gave a corresponding instruction. It is very important as well as the rise in the amount of maternity capital. Undoubtedly, supports that will be rendered to families who already bring up children from 3 to 7 years is also serious support, especially for large families. Moreover, all supporting measures already existing in all categories enumerated by the president will remain in Samara Oblast. So families’ incomes will go up, our citizens’ well-being will improve.”

  • Boris Mendelevich

    Boris Mendelevich State Duma deputy from Tatarstan

    “In my opinion, as for health care, two key things were said.

    Firstly, about the staff. We’ve been saying for long that there is a shortage of medical staff and that according to Health Care national project it is necessary to increase the staff coverage to 95% by 2024. The problem is especially big in the countryside. But this is what the president claimed today: it is necessary to increase targeted admission to universities’ general medicine faculties to 70% and paediatric faculties to 75%. It will be school graduates who will come from their municipalities to enter universities. And after they receive a diploma, they will have to work for at least 5 years in these municipalities. And it is very important because we can pump in huge money in health care and build new hospitals, purchase the latest equipment and new medication. But nothing will work without those people who will work with this equipment and in these hospitals. In health care like nowhere is all about the staff.

    Secondly, the president talked about another important moment today — the creation of a united register of people who receive medication on preferential terms. It is very important, nowadays there are several different registers: federal, regional. Every category of recipients has a list of medication, its conditions to receive it. Both patients and medical workers often confuse with these lists — who and what should receive it. Something was ordered insufficiently, then purchases suffer. And the creation of the united register of recipients of medication on preferential terms is a very important and logical step to provide medication to those who need it. The system of drug supply will dramatically change in the next years, and we start moving to it.”

By Yekaterina Ablayeva, Vasilya Shirshova, Lina Sarimova, Vitaly Akhmerov

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