#AskIvo: How Long Is Putin Planning to Stay in Power in Russia?
Putin denies he wants to stay in power as long as possible
Many critics of the Russian president were skeptical of his assurances
Russian President Vladimir Putin denies plans to stay in power after leaving the presidency in 2024.
Putin, 67, denied accusations that his proposed constitutional changes would allow him to retain power in the country he has ruled for 20 years..
On Saturday, he visited his hometown of St. Petersburg, where he said he understood people’s concerns, but did not want Russia to return to Soviet practice, when leaders died in office without plans to transfer power..
“It would be very alarming, in my opinion, to return to the situation of the mid-1980s, when the leaders of the state remained in power one by one until the end of their days, left this power, without providing the necessary conditions for the transformation of this power,” – said Putin.
“Therefore, thank you very much, but I think it’s better not to return to the situation that was in the mid-1980s,” he added..
However, many of Putin’s critics were skeptical about his assurances..
They are concerned that Putin’s proposed changes, the first significant amendments to the 1993 Constitution adopted by Boris Yeltsin, are aimed at maintaining his leverage after leaving the Kremlin..
Putin’s current presidential term ends in 2024, and he will no longer be able to stand as a candidate, as the Constitution prohibits the same person from serving as president for more than two consecutive terms..
The constitutional amendments proposed by him at this stage are vague. Critics say they can allow him to remain in power as a national leader – whether as prime minister (Putin has already resorted to such a maneuver to circumvent term limits), speaker of parliament, or head of a reorganized State Council, whose functions are not yet clearly defined. identified.
Political opponents described the proposed reform as a “constitutional coup,” which would reduce the influence of the presidency. Some former Kremlin advisers say that none of the powerful factions in the Kremlin and none of the oligarchs want Putin to leave, out of fears that this would lead to internecine war within the ruling class..
In a recent interview with VOA, which was given before Putin’s announcement, one of his former advisers, Gleb Pavlovsky, said that the Russian leader was to some extent trapped within the system he himself created. According to Pavlovsky, Putin cannot leave because of fears that everything will fall apart.
While Putin’s proposal has outraged human rights defenders, liberals and his political rivals, ordinary Russians, even those who are critical of Putin, seem to have come to terms with the situation. Many say they never expected him to part with power in four years..
“I don’t care,” 28-year-old financier Ekaterina told the Voice of America correspondent. According to her, most of her friends “only joke about it”, because they feel that there is nothing they can do. She doubts Putin’s plan will lead to large-scale protests.
Some opposition politicians say Russia has begun to gravitate towards a Central Asian model of government. They accuse Putin of wanting to follow the path of Kazakhstan, where Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned from the presidency last year, but retains control of the country as head of the powerful Security Council..
“This is a complete switch of the ruling class from Western ideology to some other – Eastern or ancient Roman,” says Alexander Baunov of the Carnegie Moscow Center..
The reform proposed by the Russian leader also implies a rejection of the rule of international law – a principle enshrined in the current version of the Constitution. This potential change has alarmed civil society organizations, which have already witnessed a tightening of their working conditions..
“As a member of the Council of Europe and the OSCE, Russia is bound by international human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law, including democratic elections, protection from arbitrary imprisonment, and freedom of the media, assembly and association,” wrote the opposition politician and journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza in an article published by the Washington Post on Friday.
These commitments have long been ignored, “but by establishing the supremacy of domestic law, the Kremlin wants to free itself from its remaining formal obligations under international law, which marks another milestone in its growing isolation,” he said..
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