Putin reveals why Mishustin was chosen as PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin has disclosed how he selected Mikhail Mishustin for the post of prime minister.
"Three, or maybe even four candidates were submitted. But Mishustin was not on the list. No one mentioned Mishustin except me," Putin told TASS in an interview for the project entitled: "20 Questions with Vladimir Putin".
Asked about the reasoning for his choice, Putin replied: "I took into account personal traits and professional skills of Mikhail Vladimirovich [Mishustin]."
Furthermore, the Russian leader highlighted Mishustin’s performance as head of the Federal Tax Service (FTS).
"I did. Not the fact that he carried [the digitization of the FTS] out, but the fact that he really became an expert in this area. A man of practice, who understands very well what needs to be done and who knows how to do it; and he is doing it and achieves concrete results," Putin explained.
He believes it would be wrong to say that the tax service’s sole task is to levy taxes. "This is a very primitive understanding of the work of the tax service. Yes, naturally, it is one of the main bodies bringing funds to the state treasury; however, to think that a tax collector walks around with a club, squeezing money out of people is very primitive," he said.
"His mission [in the capacity of FTS chief] was to ease the situation for taxpayers, to make the procedure more transparent and clear and less burdensome for citizens. An honest man who knows he properly pays all due taxes has the right to expect that the state will use the money wisely," Putin explained.
In his opinion, "the first thing to do is not to simply extract money from people - it is to organize the system in such a way that both the state and tax payers could comfortably work with each other and it would be clear how things are arranged, and everybody could pay taxes without impediment, without unnecessary hassle and stress, and without running the risk of doing something that the state may interpret as illegal."
The Russian head of state also has divulged that he had notified Dmitry Medvedev ahead of time about the government’s resignation.
"We have enjoyed very frank, collegial, friendly relations with Dmitry Anatolyevich for man years. We have no secrets from one another. So we discussed this issue with him. We had discussed it earlier and he knew what was going on," he noted.
Putin rejected suppositions that the Cabinet’s resignation looked like a special operation. However, he stopped short of disclosing whether anyone else other than Medvedev and himself had prior knowledge of these plans, or when the corresponding decision was made.
Replying to the journalist’s remark that the January government reshuffle created an impression of hastiness, Putin asked: "Why should we be waiting long to decide on such issues? What will that achieve?"
"Would it be better to spend another six months after the resignation of the government in order to form a new one? Can you imagine what a mess the country will be in?" There should never be a gap in power. Never. Everything should be discussed and thought through in advance, in a calm and business-like manner, each step should be prepared, and then the decision should be taken and implemented," Putin stressed.
"We cannot afford to muddle along here. Russia is not Belgium that can stay a whole year without any government," the president explained.