Russian PM Medvedev submits resignation, state media report

Russia Putin Federal Assembly Address

Russian government has resigned following Russian President Vladimir Putin's state of the nation address, according to reports.

Russia's most prominent opposition leader, Alexey Navalny, quickly accused Mr. Putin - who has ruled Russian Federation as President or Prime Minister since August, 1999 - of trying to cling to power.

"In this context. the government in its current form has resigned".

Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev announced that his government would resign during a cabinet meeting with the Russian president following the speech.

"The only goal of Putin and his regime is to stay in charge for life, having the entire country as his personal asset and seizing its riches for himself and his friends", Navalny wrote on Twitter.

While Putin and Medvedev appeared to present a united front, Russian political analyst Alexey Kurtov interpreted the prime ministers resignation as a show of "disagreement" with sweeping changes suggested by Putin.

Interfax said, without giving its source, that Putin had instructed the outgoing government to perform its duties until the new administration is in place.

Putin said Medvedev would take on a new job as deputy head of Russia's Security Council, which Putin chairs.

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The Russian president added that he was "satisfied with the government's performance" although the government failed to fulfill certain tasks, reported news agency Interfax.

"Not everything worked out, but everything never works out".

Putin concluded his speech, which lasted slightly more than an hour, by saying those changes must be approved at a national referendum, Russia's first since 1993.

One of the options floated in Moscow in recent months was that Putin would propose to change the Constitution so that a president could serve for a third consecutive term.

Putin also emphasized the need to amend the constitution to give it a clear priority over global law. In 2018, Putin was reelected to another six-year term.

He has not yet said what he plans to do when his term expires but, under the current constitution, which sets a maximum of two successive terms, Putin is barred from immediately running again.

The resignation raises deep questions about the long-term shape of Russia's political system and the future of Putin, who is due to step down at the end of his fourth Kremlin term in 2024.

Putin said low incomes remain an obstacle to increasing the population, now at about 147 million, as the country faces the consequences of the post-Soviet economic collapse that led to a steep drop in the birthrate.

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