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Putin the Puppet Master Shows He Retains the Power to Shock

  • Even president’s close allies didn’t know government would go
  • Constitutional plans give Putin room to run Russia after 2024
Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual state of the nation address in Moscow on Jan. 15.
Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual state of the nation address in Moscow on Jan. 15.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Updated on

As Russian lawmakers huddled in the State Duma to discuss Vladimir Putin’s bombshell plan to change the constitution, the president still had one more surprise for them.

When news broke the prime minister had resigned, even Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, a former top Kremlin aide, was caught off guard. He sat waiting as the government’s parliamentary envoy rushed from the room Wednesday to confirm the reports.