The U.S. has spotted a potential successor among Putin’s appointees

Although Russian leader Vladimir Putin has called for “working instead of looking for successors,” one person in the highest echelons of power in Russia is drawing particular attention

The U.S. news agency Bloomberg notes that Russian prime ministers are often quickly forgotten. They are in the shadows, but Mikhail Mishustin is clearly breaking tradition.

“The technically savvy former head of the tax service became the face of the government’s response to the coronavirus after Putin disappeared from view at the outset”, –  the article says.

Bloomberg also draws attention to the ambitious government spending program Mishustin is pushing while his popularity is rising. And in November, he increased his control over the domestic agenda by reshuffling the government.

Mishustin was not known before his premiership. In a system that needs results, he – a capable manager – puts himself above the political fray. At the same time, according to Bloomberg, he is a key beneficiary of Putin’s current approach, which has officially renounced the “destabilizing search for a replacement for himself.”

“Mishustin fits into this strategy to keep the ruling elite in suspense”, –  the publication said.

Mishustin, as a protégé of former Finance Minister Boris Fedorov, has proven himself as head of the Russian Tax Service. He was able to overhaul the system, managing to increase revenue without increasing the tax burden. Now he will have to work on similar projects, but at the national level. Although the program of raising the standard of living has been hampered by the pandemic, the realistic reset increases the prime minister’s chances, Bloomberg says.

At the same time, Mishustin is keeping his ambitions in check and is not jumping ahead of his ambitions to become president. The agency notes an episode when Mishustin corrected a scientist who called Putin a “colleague. He quickly clarified: “Not my colleague – our leader.”


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