Russia’s prime minister Dmitry Medvedev unexpectedly submitted both his and his government’s resignation on Wednesday, with reports suggesting disagreements with President Vladimir Putin precipitated the move.

Mr Putin announced Mikhail Mishustin as his replacement a few hours later. An obscure technocrat, Mr Mishustin, 53, earned plaudits for his role revamping the country’s tax service, but is unlikely to be seen as a rival or potential successor. Approval of the appointment by the Duma, Russia’s lower parliament, on Thursday is virtually certain.

 Mr Medvedev will now serve as deputy of the National Security Council, a newly created position.
The news came on the back of Mr Putin’s equally dramatic state-of-the-nation address. Over recent years, the showpiece event had become a predictable affair. But on Wednesday the president departed from the usual script of promises to the domestic audience and threats to the west by instead proposing a radical constitutional shakeup and referendum.