On Monday, Putin signed a new law. What was unique about the law was its potentiality to extend the Russian president’s rule for two more terms. The signing of this law formalizes changes in the constitution. Last year, there was a vote proposing this change and it was endorsed by the Russians in a referendum on amendments that could be made to the Russian constitution.
In the July 1 constitutional vote, there was a provision to reset the term limits that were set for Putin’s presidency, by two additional terms. The Kremlin-controlled legislature stamped its approval and Putin signed the relevant law. It was posted on an official legal portal on Monday.
The Russian president is serving his fourth term which will be completed in 2024. If he stands again for elections and wins, he can continue for two more six-year terms.
He had previously conducted a job swap with his prime minister Dimitri Medvedev in 2012 had led to street protests but gave him an extra eight years of presidency. However, the ratification of this new law that adds two more terms of six years each which adds up to another twelve years of presidency up to 2036, should he choose to stand for reelection.
Other laws have also been amended and include the definition of marriage which is “the union of a man and a woman.” It said “a belief in God” is a core value. The voting had lasted for a week and was completed on July 1. Almost 78% of Russians voted for these amendments. The voter turnout was 68%.
Despite the Russian president’s win in his country, leaders from many countries around the world have condemned these amendments. Putin has faced a huge amount of criticism and his close allies have faced sanctions.
The incarceration of the 44-year old opposition leader Alexei Navalny continues despite pressure from the rest of the world but the Russian leader is popular among his citizens who vote from for him and his policies in a combination of awe, resignation and fear.