MOSCOW, February 20. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has divulged that he had notified Dmitry Medvedev ahead of time about the government’s resignation.
"We have enjoyed very frank, collegial, friendly relations with Dmitry Anatolyevich for man years. We have no secrets from one another. So we discussed this issue with him," Putin told TASS in an interview for the project entitled "20 Questions with Vladimir Putin". "We had discussed it earlier and he knew what was going on."
Putin rejected suppositions that the Cabinet’s resignation looked like a special operation. However, he stopped short of disclosing whether anyone else other than Medvedev and himself had prior knowledge of these plans, or when the corresponding decision was made.
Replying to TASS journalist Andrei Vandenko’s remark that the January government reshuffle created an impression of hastiness, Putin asked: "Why should we be waiting long to decide on such issues? What will that achieve?"
"Would it be better to spend another six months after the resignation of the government in order to form a new one? Can you imagine what a mess the country will be in?" he added. "There should never be a gap in power. Never. Everything should be discussed and thought through in advance, in a calm and business-like manner, each step should be prepared, and then the decision should be taken and implemented."
"We cannot afford to muddle along here. Russia is not Belgium that can stay a whole year without any government," Putin remarked.
On January 15, following President Vladimir Putin’s Address to the Federal Assembly, Dmitry Medvedev announced his government’s resignation. He said it was the right step to take against the background of the president’s proposals for amending the Constitution. On January 16, Medvedev was appointed deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council. Mikhail Mishustin, the former head of the Federal Tax Service, took over the reins as Russia’s new head of government.