The man put forward to be Russia’s new prime minister says he plans big changes in government, and won’t rule out standing for the presidency next year. Viktor Zubkov is a relative unknown, and was nominated by President Putin yesterday. The president is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term, and has always insisted he won’t re-write the rules. But he said he had decided it was a good time to freshen up the government and see how the political situation plays out before the election next March.
Parliament will debate Zubkov’s promotion tomorrow, although with so many pro-Putin deputies, it should be a formality. Nevertheless, Zubkov is taking no chances, and met the leaders of other political parties to introduce himself. What’s not known though is exactly how much support he can expect from the president, and whether he can look forward to challenging for the Kremlin next spring.