Selasa, 06 April 2021

Vladimir Putin signs legislation allowing him to hold office until 2036 - ABC News

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed legislation allowing him to hold office for two additional six-year terms — a move that means he may stay in power until 2036.

If Mr Putin remains in power until 2036, his tenure will surpass even that of Joseph Stalin, who ruled the Soviet Union for 29 years, making him the country's longest-serving leader since the Russian empire.

Mr Putin has served twice as president, from 2000-08 and 2012-present, as well as serving as de facto leader while prime minister from 2008-12.

Last year, Mr Putin signed additional legislation granting former presidents a lifetime seat in the federation council or senate, a position that assured immunity from prosecution upon leaving the presidency.

The 68-year-old Russian President, who has held power for more than two decades, said he would decide later whether to run in 2024 when his current six-year term ended.

How did it start?

Russia's president Vladimir Putin
Mr Putin, pictured with Valentina Matviyenko and Sergei Naryshkin, has already guaranteed himself immunity from prosecution if he were to lose power.(

AFP: Sergei Chirikov


In July 2020, Mr Putin proposed a constitutional referendum in Russia. 

The July 1 constitutional vote included a provision that reset Mr Putin's previous term limits, allowing him to run for president two more times.

The change was rubber-stamped by the Kremlin-controlled legislature and the relevant law signed by Mr Putin was posted on an official portal of legal information on Monday.

Mr Putin has argued that resetting the term count was necessary to keep his lieutenants focused on their work instead of "darting their eyes in search for possible successors".

The constitutional amendments also emphasised the primacy of Russian law over international norms, outlawed same-sex marriages and mentioned "a belief in God" as a core value.

Nearly 78 per cent of voters approved the constitutional amendments during the balloting, which lasted for a week and concluded on July 1. Turnout was 68 per cent.

Following the vote, Russian lawmakers had methodically modified the national legislation, approving the relevant laws.

The opposition criticised the constitutional vote, arguing that it was tarnished by widespread reports of pressure on voters and other irregularities, as well as a lack of transparency and hurdles hindering independent monitoring.

What were Mr Putin's motivations? 

Vladimir Putin sitting by a tea pot and cakes with a fireplace behind him
Russia's public trust in Mr Putin hit a six-year low last year.(

Sputnik Photo Agency via Reuters


According to Associate Professor Alexei Muraviev, writing in The Conversation, although Mr Putin experienced a sharp drop in his ratings last year to a six-year low of 35 per cent in the Levada polls, he believed it was likely Mr Putin did not sign the legislation in response to a decline in public trust.

Professor Muraviev said the changes to the constitution could be explained by three major factors.

Firstly, there are no immediate successors in sight. As public trust in Mr Putin has declined in recent years, polls suggest public support for Putin's allies remain significantly lower.

Secondly, the move to signal possibly staying in power may be driven by the immediate need to offer some support to the volatile Russian markets, which plummeted following the collapse of talks between Russia and OPEC over oil production cuts.

Professor Muraviev writes, "The logic is simple: by indicating he may be staying on, Mr Putin is trying to reassure investors that Russia is unlikely to slide back into internal political turmoil."

Thirdly, another effect of Mr Putin's 20 years in power is that the Russian electorate does not see any hope in the opposition.

Professor Muraviev writes, "For most Russians, Mr Putin is associated with the country's rise as a great power, the revival of its military might and the stabilisation of the economy compared with the volatility of the 1990s."

Why isn't there opposition?

A man in a court dock stands with hands in his pockets as guards look on and media take photographs.
Alexei Navalny, a prominent critic of the Kremlin, is on hunger strike in prison.(

AP: Alexander Zemlianichenko


The leading opposition figure in Russia, Alexey Navalny, launched a series of anti-corruption investigations into figures within Mr Putin's party, yet his popular support base remained low, at 3 per cent in the polls from 2017-20.

In the months since the July vote, Russia has imprisoned Mr Navalny.

The 44-year-old Mr Navalny was arrested in January upon his return from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve-agent poisoning that he blamed on the Kremlin. Russian authorities have rejected the accusation.

In February, Mr Navalny was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for violating the terms of his probation while convalescing in Germany.

The sentence stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that Navalny has rejected as fabricated — and which the European Сourt of Human Rights has ruled to be unlawful.


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2021-04-06 07:38:57Z

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