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Deepnews Digest #37

Kremlin Carousel Takes a Turn

This week Vladimir Putin announced sweeping constitutional changes and the demotion of his longtime ally Dmitry Medvedev. The move sparked speculation among Kremlinologists that the current president and former prime minister may be Russia's once and future PM, continuing his consolidation of power past 2024. Though Putin pops up in all sorts of news, this Digest looks particularly at Russia itself, and features on the ground reporting from outlets big and small. Found with the Deepnews Scoring Model.

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Story Source
Financial Times ($)
Alexander Khazbiyev was just five years old when Vladimir Putin was first sworn in as Russia's president. The private ceremony at the start of the new ­millennium signalled the rise of the former spy from nervous newcomer to global prominence.

Editor's Note: Though this piece came out before the news on Wednesday, it took an in-depth look at views among the youth on Putin, the system he created, and what it could look like when he's gone.

Bloomberg
MOSCOW - In his state of the nation address on Wednesday (Jan 15), Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed a sweeping constitutional reform that would give him several options to retain power after 2024, when his term ends.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

Financial Times ($)
Vladimir Putin has announced the most sweeping political changes in Russia in almost three decades. The constitution will change in a way that could see him extend his 20-year reign after his term expires in 2024, while longtime ally Dmitry Medvedev has resigned as prime minister.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

POLITICO Europe
If one thing was clear about the resignation of Russia's prime minister on Wednesday, it was that a step had been taken toward President Vladimir Putin remaining in power after his term ends in 2024.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

RFE/RL
The abrupt resignation of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on January 15, which came just hours after President Vladimir Putin's detailed broad proposed changes to the constitution, jolted Russia's political landscape and appears to have taken even senior officials by surprise.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

AP
Putin kept his longtime ally Medvedev in the Kremlin’s leadership structure by appointing him to the newly created post of deputy head of the presidential Security Council. But the duties and influence of that position are unclear.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

Meduza
Vladimir Putin has offered Acting Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who resigned the prime minister's post on January 15, a new position as the deputy chair of Russia's Security Council. This will make Medvedev deputy to Putin himself: Russia's primary security law dictates that the Security Council is always chaired by the president. Medvedev's former position, meanwhile, will be occupied by Federal Tax Service head Mikhail Mishustin.

Editor's Note: Readers far from Moscow may be unfamiliar with Meduza, though the Latvia-based outlet founded by Russian journalist Galina Timchenko does solid coverage of the region such as this piece on the power struggle between Medvedev and a rival.

Defense One
Russia under a president-for-life will likely grow more insular and less open to Western influence.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

Washington Post
MOSCOW -- Russia's prime minister submitted his resignation Wednesday as part of a surprise government shake-up directed by President Vladimir Putin as he looks to an eventual transition of power and to ensure his influence after his term ends in 2024.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

Deutsche Welle
The little-known head of Russia's tax service, Mikhail Mishustin, was named as the next prime minister of Russia hours after Dmitry Medvedev resigned on Wednesday, capping a day of unexpected changes to Russian politics.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

Foreign Policy ($)
When Russians woke up on Wednesday morning, most had likely never heard of Mikhail Mishustin, the head of the country's tax service. But by the time they went to bed that night, Mishustin had been named as Russia's new prime minister after a day that included a flurry of proposed changes to the constitution and a series of dramatic shake-ups that saw the government resign en masse. It was the first real inkling of the power transfer to come, with President Vladimir Putin set to reach his constitutionally imposed term limit in 2024.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

AP
As a career bureaucrat who has been in charge of Russia’s taxes for the past 10 years, Mishustin has always kept a low profile and stayed away from politics. He doesn’t belong to a political party and in rare interviews prefers to talk about innovations in tax administration.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

CBC News
Russians awoke this morning to a new prime minister and much confusion about a new constitutional process that appears designed to entrench Vladimir Putin's status at the top of Russia's political pyramid for the rest of his life.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

RFE/RL
About three hours after President Vladimir Putin proposed several eyebrow-raising changes to the Russian Constitution -- changes that could open the door for his staying in power beyond the end of his current term in 2024 -- there was even more substantive change to the Russian political world.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

Vox
It's not every day an entire government resigns, but that's what happened in Russia on Wednesday as President Vladimir Putin announced plans for major constitutional reforms that could extend his grip on power long after his term in office is supposed to end.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

Al-Monitor
Lavrov, 69, has long been asking for a successor. Potential candidates said to be eyed for this role are three of his deputies: Sergey Ryabkov, 59, who has a big portfolio from relations with the United States, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran and arms control; Alexander Grushko, 64, a former envoy to NATO who is in charge of the European file; and Vladimir Titov, 61, who officially deals primarily with administrative issues but who is believed to have strong ties to the Russian security services.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

Foreign Policy ($)
MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin unexpectedly began the country's political transition Wednesday with a constitutional shake-up and the naming of a new prime minister, paving the way for the 67-year-old leader to continue driving Russian politics even after he formally leaves the presidency in 2024.

Editor's Note: Wednesday's announcements were in some ways answers to questions that had been percolating about Putin for years. Here Reid Standish looks at what it means for the "political transition" that will eventually follow the longtime leader.

The Independent
As far as Russia's domestic politics go, there is perhaps only one day in the last ten years that could claim to match the drama of yesterday's developments.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

TIME
Even in 2018, when Vladimir Putin still had a full six years to serve as President of Russia, the political class around the Kremlin began to whisper about what comes next.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

The New York Times
Is Vladimir Putin Russia's president for life? Maybe. But he's still observing the niceties.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

The Guardian
Corruption allegations and embarrassing public moments weakened Russia's former PM.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

National Interest
Key Point: U.S. foreign policy must catch up with the developments of the past thirty years and reassess its relationship with Russia.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

The Guardian
Ministers were called into surprise meeting where they were told they would all be resigning from their jobs.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

Project Syndicate
Over the past year, predictions of serious struggles for Russian President Vladimir Putin – or even his political demise – have been increasingly frequent. A recent article in The Economist, “An Awful Week For Vladimir Putin,” is just one example. But it is Putin biographer and New York Times correspondent Steven Lee Myers whose assessment rings most true: “Putin,” Mr. Myers has repeatedly said to me, “always wins.”

Editor's Note: The potential departure of Putin also raises questions about the system he has built. Here Nina Khrushcheva, the granddaughter of the Soviet premier, writes before the announcements about his "pipeline politics."

Meduza
On January 10, news broke that a new organization was entering Russia's political sphere: the Direct Democracy Party. Its founder, Vyacheslav Makarov, is a video game developer and the product director for World of Tanks, an online role-playing game from the company Wargaming in the arcade tank simulator genre. Makarov's new project isn't the only political initiative to arise in Russia just in time for the 2021 State Duma elections that will help decide Vladimir Putin's future.

Editor's Note: This week's Disney+ launch also comes after director Martin Scorcese shook the film world with his statements on art versus "audiovisual experiences" last week. Here critic Richard Brody looks at the controversy in light of the landscape of cinema and streaming.

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