Russian leader hinted at new opportunity to stay in power
MOSCOW – Russian leader Vladimir Putin supported a proposal to amend the constitutional provision limiting the number of presidential terms.
This will allow the 67-year-old Putin to remain in power for a long time after the end of the current, in theory the last, term in 2024..
Under the proposed changes, which Putin insists should support the upcoming nationwide referendum and be approved by the Constitutional Court, the current Russian leader will have the right to run twice more for the presidency and thus extend his 20-year rule in the Kremlin until 2036..
Putin presented the move as bringing stability to Russia’s uncertain political future, effectively stating that by staying in power, he could lead the country to the day when an electoral change of power is possible..
“I am sure that the time will come when the highest, presidential power in Russia will not be, as they say, so personified, will not be associated with any one specific person,” Putin said..
“We’ve had enough revolutions already,” he said..
Tuesday’s events were carefully orchestrated.
First, State Duma Deputy Valentina Tereshkova, the legendary first woman to fly into space, took the podium and said that the recent constitutional debate did not take into account the true wishes of Russians – for Putin to remain in power.
Moreover, Tereshkova said that the amendment to the Constitution gives the president the right to “zero” the number of terms that he has already served in this post..
After that, the speaker of the Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, informed the journalists that Putin had been informed about this and that he would come to the Duma to discuss this idea..
Shortly thereafter, Putin appeared before lawmakers and agreed that “zeroing” the deadlines was indeed possible..
The Duma immediately approved this proposal.
Kremlin critics harbored no illusions about the upcoming development of events.
“We have always known that Putin is not going anywhere. The fact that he decides not to stir up any cunning state councils, but simply stupidly goes for another term is a surprise, ”wrote Leonid Volkov, the chief strategist of opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Facebook..
Russia passes referendum that could extend Putin’s rule to 2036
“The current constitution guarantees that I can definitely participate in the presidential elections, and Putin certainly cannot,” Navalny tweeted, noting that the Kremlin did not allow him to participate in the elections, despite the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights..
“Because of the quarantine, Putin was banned from leaving his post,” joked photojournalist Dave Frenkel on Twitter.
Indeed, if Putin remains healthy and maintains public support, Russians will face the prospect of Putin remaining in power when he is well into his 80s..
“Putin is smart! I hope that by 2036 he will still be able to convince the population that democracy is better than dictatorship, ”Vladimir Inozemtsev, director of the Center for Post-Industrial Society Research, wrote in his blog..
“It probably won’t work any faster,” he added sarcastically..