Putin approves changes allowing him to stay in power until 2036

Среда, 11 Мар, 2020

"This practice exists in many other countries, including among our neighbours", Putin said, speaking to Duma lawmakers in Moscow on Tuesday.

In a speech to lawmakers Tuesday, Putin spoke against scrapping presidential term limits altogether but backed the idea that if the constitution is revised, the two-term limit only would apply from 2024 on.

The only remaining hurdle is an April 22 referendum on the proposed changes to the constitution, which the Kremlin is expected to win easily against scattered opposition.

Parliament then adjourned for 90 minutes to phone Putin and ask for his thoughts.

However, while addressing the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, he gave his qualified blessing to a proposed change to the constitution that would formally reset his presidential term tally to zero. Both are considered formalities.

The 67-year-old Putin has been in energy for greater than 20 years, turning into Russia's longest-serving chief since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

Following Putin's remarks, the Duma approved the proposed amendments to the constitution in the second reading, stipulating that the incumbent president and former heads of states can take part in new presidential elections regardless of the number of terms they've served prior to the amendment entering into force.

"I have no doubt that the day will come when the supreme, presidential power in Russian Federation will not be so personified, if I may say so, that it will not be connected to a certain individual", Putin added.

Russia's opposition, including Putin's most prominent critic Alexei Navalny, has criticised the proposals as an effort to make him "president for life".

Putin, whose current term ends in 2024, served two presidential terms in 2000-2008, before shifting to the Russian prime minister's office while protégé Dmitry Medvedev served as a placeholder president. His Monday remarks come just weeks after he rejected the idea of a Soviet-style presidency for life. What will it mean?

"It looks like this crisis situation has made Putin drop his mask and do something he had originally planned, and to do it quickly", Abbas Gallyamov, an independent political analyst said.

Lev Gudkov, director of the Levada Center, Russia's lone independent pollster, said that the depreciation of the ruble, coupled with concern over a coronavirus outbreak, "will undoubtedly affect the attitude of the Russian population to Putin and to the Russian government in general" and that an "upcoming sharp rise in consumer prices, a jump in inflation and a rise in the cost of living will increase the degree of discontent".

Sergei Neverov, a lawmaker and senior United Russia official, said the party would "no doubt support" such an idea, but that it would have to be discussed with Putin as well as parliament's leaders.

"Obviously, the state will not lose its secular nature, nor can we provide the precise timing and format of this change", said Dmitri Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman.