Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed a new government, less than a week after he announced sweeping constitutional reforms and his longtime prime minister resigned.
Putin, who said there was a “demand for change” in his announcements last week, kept on key allies. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu -- both staunch Putin supporters and major policy figures -- held on to their positions, as well as the finance and energy ministers, Anton Siluanov and Alexander Novak.
But he replaced several officials in charge of social affairs, including the ministers of health, education, labour and economic development.
Meeting the cabinet of new Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin for the first time, Putin said its most important task was to “increase the welfare of our citizens and strengthen our state”.
The government of Putin’s longtime ally Dmitry Medvedev resigned last week, a few hours after the president announced the constitutional reforms.
The reforms will transfer some authority to parliament, including the power to choose the prime minister, and beef up the role of an advisory body called the State Council, potentially headed by Putin.
Critics say Putin, 67, could use that position to continue to shape domestic and foreign policy after his fourth Kremlin term expires in 2024.