Putin addresses the State Council in Moscow on Wednesday.
Putin addresses the State Council in Moscow on Wednesday. Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool/AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed several constitutional amendments Wednesday that could signal a power shift in the country.

Putin’s key proposal is to transfer the power to select the prime minister and cabinet from the president to the parliament, or duma.

“I propose… entrusting the State Duma with the power to approve the candidacy of the prime minister, and then, per the prime minister’s proposal, [appoint] all deputy prime ministers and federal ministers,” Putin said in his annual address to the Federal Assembly. 

“In this case, the president will be obliged to appoint them, that is, he will not have the right to reject parliament-approved candidacies.”

According to the current constitution, the president needs to secure approval from the lower house of parliament to appoint the head of the government, and the president then has the right to appoint all deputies and ministers.

Handing the Russian parliament more power at the expense of presidential authority could signal a power shift that has been long speculated about in Russia. 

Putin’s critics have suggested that he is considering various scenarios to remain in power after 2024, including the option of becoming prime minister with extended powers.

In 2008 Putin swapped places with then Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to circumvent the constitutional provision banning the same person from serving two consecutive terms.