What to Make of Putin’s Shake-Up in Russia

President Vladimir Putin speaks at a meeting on drafting constitutional changes at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, outside Moscow, Russia, Jan. 16, 2020 (pool photo by Mikhail Klimentyev of Sputnik via AP Images).
President Vladimir Putin speaks at a meeting on drafting constitutional changes at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, outside Moscow, Russia, Jan. 16, 2020 (pool photo by Mikhail Klimentyev of Sputnik via AP Images).
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If one nice thing can be said about Vladimir Putin, it is that he is a master of political jujitsu. This week, Putin’s skills were on full display after he called for far-reaching constitutional changes that would transfer more power from the presidency to parliament—a move many suspect is really designed to extend his 20-year hold on power. Following Putin’s announcement, Russia’s prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, and his entire Cabinet abruptly resigned, and hours later Putin named a new prime minister. Putin is technically barred by constitutional term limits that prohibit more than two consecutive presidential terms. The dramatic reshuffling […]

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