The Debate

Kremlin reshuffle: Will Putin reforms guarantee grip on power?

By: François PICARD Follow | Alessandro XENOS | Juliette LAURAIN
44 min

It's a classic Putin move. The master of the Kremlin has caught all comers off guard with the sacking of his cabinet, the kicking upstairs of longtime shadow Dmitry Medvedev, and plans for a constitutional reform that the opposition suspects is all about keeping the reins of power beyond the end of his term-limited mandate in 2024. 


We ask about the makeover and the plucking from obscurity of tax office boss Mikhail Mishustin to run Putin's cabinet. With Russia, we seem to be perpetually wondering how to run a sprawling nation that spans eleven time zones, whose fortunes depend on oil and gas, where the leader remains popular after two decades in power but where the economy is sluggish, population growth anemic and citizens are fed up with corruption and mismanagement. 

A giant with feet of clay? On the world stage, Russia continues to project strength even when its actions yield mixed results, like when the Libya conference it hosted this week failed to deliver a ceasefire or when fighting resumes in Syria's Idlib province. What is the true reality and what does the future hold?

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain, Marion Lefevre and Jimena Morales-Velasco.

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