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tv   Inside Story 2020 Ep 17  Al Jazeera  January 17, 2020 8:32pm-9:01pm +03

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if he is standing by iranians it's only to state the poison to degas into the hearts of the iranian people. the us president donald trump's defense team for his upcoming impeachment trial has been named it includes former independent counsel ken starr and alan dershowitz the trial will be led by white house counsel pat polonius and trump's lawyer jay sekulow and huge crowds joins climate activist for a climate march in the swiss city of los on the demonstration was planned for the 1st anniversary of the climate strike movement inspired by 2 in both demonstrators sang happy birthday to rock the occasion before setting out it also comes ahead of the world economic forum in davos next week which to a book says she's planning to attend. one year's fear here on al-jazeera after inside story next.
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how long will gladly hold on to power the russian leader has named a new prime minister and promised to introduce constitutional reforms but what's motivating kenya what are his plans for the future of russia this is inside story. hello i'm richelle carey welcome to the program russia's parliament has overwhelmingly approved the nation's new prime minister the former head of the federal tax service will succeed to meet death by the udev resigned along with the entire government on wednesday after president vladimir putin announced major
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constitutional changes the reforms could see putin keep influence over policy even after his final term as president and in 2024 so how will putin retain its grip on power and what does this political transition mean for russia will be tried guests in a moment 1st let's take a closer look at some of those proposed changes in a state of the nation speech putin said parliament and the state council will get more powers and m.p.'s will get more say in forming the government including the power to choose the prime minister and cabinet members a group of 70 people will develop the amendments and a confirmation vote is expected by the summer not a formal referendum that has for now been ruled out. let's bring in our guests now in moscow we have victor all of the cheese the elite expert at the center for actual politics and new jersey amy knight she's a historian at the soviet union and russia and in cambridge massachusetts simone's rajan he's the director of the russia matters project at the harvard kennedy school
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buchan to all of you so this announcement headlines had described it as a shock as a surprise victor how do you see it how would you characterize this announcement from. well this has been an actual long in the works in the presidential administration and in other institutions dealing with planning for a political transition in russia of course which is kiran term his 4th expires in 20 or 24 and he is seeking to extend the time where he could influence the. political sphere beyond his to respond and so far essentially either he will it is likely that the other putin will move to the state council which if these constitutional reform proposals are accepted.
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the state gun salute will become a constitutionally. mandated state that we're going to with its own powers and then which you could possibly move to get the state consul and we'll do some influence over the russian political sphere of both domestic and foreign policy from that vantage point or what you could possibly at some point leave office before 2024 like you spread assessor yields and then ok iraq and the original misdeed council at that time if i could stop you for just a moment we're going to outline some of the options in just a moment 1st i just want to get the reaction from from the other guest before we start to go down those points amy did you see this as a surprise were you shocked by. i was of course surprised as most most people in the russian media and most observers were but i do think that this this planned change these plan changes in the constitution that putin has proposed have been
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long in the making and this is part of his longer term strategy to ensure that he can basically continue to run russia after his presidential term expires in 2024 and i i may be in the minority on this but i don't think that this necessarily means that dmitri medvedev who was resigned as prime minister as a result of these changes i don't think that this means that medvedev is completely out of the picture i would imagine that he also knew about these forthcoming changes and this new position that's been created for medvedev in the national security council to be directly under president putin could prove to be quite a quite an important post and this might be you know a place for him to be reserved so that he might be considered for the presidency
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again so but also i think i think putin has left it open that he can actually continue to be president after 2024 and it's an interesting point you brought up about medvedev and we're going to revisit that in just a moment 1st simone i'm curious what was your reaction to to this announcement these proposed changes to me the timing was surprising i thought that would happen somewhere closer to 2024 so that may give you the full b.s. chronically unpopular prime minister would be sacrificed closer to that so to say to the date when putin's term expires and from what i read quite a few ministers from the government was supposed to me for the 1st time in new year this post shows the one that was surprised and warm unaware of their coming changes but i think the greens removed from new. i agree with amy on that if only because
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the bill that putin introduced to create this position deputy chairman of the security council was submitted to the state duma the day after. putin announced the changes so that means it had been in the works for some time and probably mediated was consulted. whether he would accept that post before the deal was drafted so you say. that the timing what timing what do you make of the timing. well i think that kind of a. early start of the figuration of power. means that vladimir putin. has already made up his mind. in contrast to the previous change of guard when he had me mediate if and see gavan
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of compete until fairly late. into the. into the game and he made his mind that he was going to choose me to bid if fairly late . and then we did it went on and big became elected the president of russia this time putin must have decided on configuration of power early on but the question of success is at the post of the president if he decides and it's it's likely that he will do so not to remain the president after his 4th term expires i think that question is still open and i agree with amy that. medium you do is not completely out of picture but i think his chances of becoming the president with less powers have been significantly diminished i think the new the new candidate for the successor post would be someone from
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a younger generation of leaders that vladimir putin is now grooming a victor will let me get your thoughts on dmitri medvedev since i guess have brought this up what do you think the future might be for him and they both they both said he's pretty been pretty unpopular well. well it does look like the position he's been appointed to right now the position of the deputy head of the security council is a more temporary one for him it's not it's not his final. destination of course for a long time it has been rumored that the position he seeks in the russian political sphere after his prime minister expires at russia's constitutional court he is of course a lawyer by by training and. he was educated as
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a lawyer in the same year that radiated. and the fact that he has not been appointed to the constitutional court but instead has been given this position. position specifically for him as a deputy head of the security council is destined to. probably not not yet sure as to where. we'll end up later it is also significant that the security council the russian federation is mostly a military and security structure and the secretary of the security council is genuine collapse of the former head of the federal security service and most of the staff of the security council also comes from as i said from security services and the military in the age of like others in the security council is
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a civilian politician and the. move there signify that. may want to have a close ally one of his closest allies on the security council to watch or. and. significant control over that structure in that way also. the new prime minister who has been appointed instead of. me the mediator of. who comes from the next. sirius is. also most likely not going to stay in that position for longer than several one or 2 years he seems to be please hold out you know we before that he'll successor but then szell successor to push him is appointed closer to the change of
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the closer to election time ok so i may want to ask you about that about mikhail misused in just a few days ago he was largely unknown and now he is is the prime minister of russia his background is in taxes i mean there are some thoughts that maybe he actually might be the person that can help vladimir putin implement these national projects and things of that sort that victor saying perhaps he's just a temporary placeholder what does the choice mikhail misused and say to you about what putin's vision is well 1st of all i think that that putin has already signified a diminish and powers of the council of ministers if these reforms he suggested go forward then it then it means that the parliament will actually have the power of appointment of the prime minister in the cabinet so i think my personal view is is that putin is shifting power to another body probably more power to the to the
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national security council. now it's interesting that misused in was head of the tax police of course the tax police or the tax service i should say is a very important body because it's through a lot of tax fraud cases that the kremlin can or or oligarchy and people who are involved in high finance can go after their enemies so this is a very powerful political weapon for any agency and i would say that that problem. misused in is shown his loyalty to putin i agree that in the long term i don't think he's going to be put forward. as any kind of a candidate to lead the country but i i don't think we should underestimate the fact that you know he did head the tax service for a number of years and this is
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a very important body just in terms of the whole way that the legal system operates when it comes to finance and economics simone i'm interested in your thoughts as well simone i think he's capable manager who has proved to be very successful in taking his ministry his tech service to the digital age the tech service leads all other government agencies in digital izing it services and if you were to ask a russian tech spear he would say that the quality of service both for individual and corporate tax payers have improved collection of taxes have also been improved which could not help policing lead in your putin and i think part of the rationale for his appointment is all i don't see i don't see him as a leader of russia potential successor what part of the russian east is to expand
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the island of excellence all to say in the text as to the rest to the rest of the government because frankly speaking there's a reason why the government has been unpopular and with the public and it's not only declining. incomes real incomes that have been declining for 5 out of the past 6 years but also the quality of managing national projects that are supposed to veil the general public will know that the mediators government has been dragging its feet on the issue and unable to accomplish what putin sees frankly as priority in his remained of his so i would expect him to focus on that on on improving the quality of government or making governance more morden so to say and more convenient for both authorities to govern but also for for citizens to . use government services so these changes that putin is proposing soon how
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does it help vladimir putin accomplish what he says his priorities are these these national projects because from the outside looking into looks like his priority is foreign policy so if the changes the amendments to the constitution that he's proposing have little to do frankly with with changes in quality o. government all bite you could argue that by empowering the palm and he sort of forced as great a competition theoretically between the branches of power and hansing checks and balances but in the russian case where one party which is by the way i see led by the me the edge of dominance the parliament so. and it essentially rubber stamps what the government not the government but the president and the president and show administration tell them to pass as laws so yes if the government if the palmetto more competitive elections in russia will more competitive parliamentary the
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changes he's proposing would have eventually impacted the quality of governments in the constitution bus as the things are they are mostly designed to help him continue to see russia. after 2024 it is the change of the prime minister that i see as a sign of his willingness to sort of. give a strong impetus to the national projects that he's been pursuing because he's a effective manager and he is focused on innovation when he was asked what he would do if he will go back to the private sector again and he wasn't private sector at the u.g. he said i would focus on innovation because that's what drives seem that's what interests him and that's what he's record in the tech service shows he's capable of . victory started this discussion a little while ago about what some of lattimer putin's options may be to remain
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really and the driver seat for russia past 2024 what do you think is the most likely option. well i want to clarify something. seems to be moving to the security council actually. giving more power to the state to different institutions and the state previously had not been. had not been in the constitution mentioned in the constitution as a state. mandated state again. proposing making the state council a part of the russian constitution and giving it more power so it is very likely that the presidential administration is looking at the option of having.
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presidential term expires 2024. for the president. he would be able to move to the state council which by that time will be a much more international body within the russian constitutional political structure political order and then from that from that position will be able to exercise to wield influence over the. russian government and over russia's domestic and foreign policy and of course it is also important to note what other amendments proposed in his address. proposed that. the russian constitution. have. over international law or any international laws that russia has been under which jurisdiction russia has been on there for until now and that would make the russian
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case closer to the american political war there where they make and don't really recognize either their lungs or. the international criminal courts or the un tribunals or other international legal bodies so this could impact russia's relationship with the european court of human rights and other international bodies that have more or less ruled against russia also. another important proposal is still allows the russian russian president to equal judges from the russian soup in court and the constitutional court and of course that they've asked the russian legal structures the constitutional and supreme courts of some of their power because the judges there would be. feel that they could be called by the president if they are not. possibly they're not to the liking of their decisions or not to the liking of the executive branch. proposals are also
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something that has to be taken in context ok i mean i want to hear the historian among us i want to put something to you that a russia expert wrote i picked this up yesterday he says it makes perfect sense that putin a man raised in the communist system would see it as a is natural to govern from the head of a party and reduced the russian presidency to a ceremonial post put another way that's how the old u.s.s.r. was set up does that sound like an accurate description of how putin sees the world and sees his russia. no no it doesn't i think that if you were going to make any comparisons with the soviet period it would probably be and again i i i disagree on this question of the state council versus the security council the national security council i think that the national
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security council because it includes the minister of defense all of this a low viki the law enforcement people the security people foreign policy that this is putin's main concern and this is this is where the power i think will be focused and i would say that maybe the security council is more like the old soviet politburo but i'd just like to add something about the whole 2024 question you know when putin was announcing these changes he talked about the article in the constitutional provision that limits. the presidency to a candidate for becoming president for more than 2 earth serving as president for more than 2 consecutive terms but he also said kind of interesting leigh that he didn't think this issue was fundamental i think that it's entirely possible that when they make these changes in the constitution and they have
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a referendum on these changes it is possible that some legal experts would say that the old that the old constitution therefore is is no longer in force and this idea of 2 consecutive terms is not retroactive so to stated in simple terms this could give. a legal way for putin to start serving and additional to run again for president in 2024 ok so similar in a minute but the last question to you this type of discussion that we're having at the root of it all is a way for for putin to figure out how to stay in power does that sound like a democracy. well democracy can be liberal can be sovereign as. once called it i'd say it's closer to what. has described
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a sovereign democracy which in my view is not is not the real democracy but you know you have some kind of pretense of division of powers unfortunately one branch of power dominates the addis and. in terms of the question of putin's options into 24 i was going to that if i made that a century see 55 options one is just to stay in the kremlin with his control of palm and he can extend. number of terms he said. then leave completely without taking any pause 2nd options another option that was floated in the previous time he decided to leave britain was to become secretary of the security council yet another 4th option is the prime minister and the 5th one is the state council and if i had to bet i would bet on the 5th option because it is for a reason that he had. he was going to amend the constitution. to him
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paul was state council which is not mentioned in the present constitution to make it into executive power part of the executive branch of power and i think that's where he's headed he's going to be the sort of the father figure who can exercise control over the successor but also see how that success of the us and him if he eventually can that i mean is perhaps he's day to day involvement and delegate more powers to the successor well that's all remains to be saying thank you all for your expertise on this on this topic we appreciate it very much thank you for joining us victor all of that amy knight in samoa rajan and thank you for watching you can see the program again any time go to our website al-jazeera dot com for further discussion on our facebook page facebook dot com forward slash a.j. inside story you can also join the conversation on twitter our handle is a.j. and side story for me richelle carey in the entirety i for now.
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