Putin to Stay Put as President Till For Foreseeable Future

Russian President Vladamir Putin made amendments to the Constitution in order to make his powers invulnerable. The removal of the words “in row” will allow Putin to dust off his previous two-terms and like a renewed contract allow him to contest two more elections.

Crux of the Matter

Putin’s Political Powerplay
For 20 years now, Russia’s political landscape has been dominated by Putin. Here is a look at the timeline of his political career.

  • 1999-2000: Vladimir Putin served as the Prime Minister and acting President of Russia.
  • 2000-2004: Putin served as the President of Russia.
  • 2004-2008: Putin was re-elected as the President.
  • 2008: Putin stepped down as the President to allow Dmitry Medvedev to become the President because the Russian Constitution did not allow more than 2 consecutive Presidential terms. There is no upper cap on the number of terms that a President may serve.
  • 2008: Russia increased the Presidential tenure from 4 to 6 years.
  • 2008-2012: Putin served as the Prime Minister of Russia.
  • 2012-present: Putin is serving as the President of Russia.

More Power Brings More Responsibility (and Power)
Russian Federation will undergo a referendum next month for the amended articles of the Russian Constitution. To remain in power, he has proposed the following constitutional amendments:

  • In the Article that regulates the maximum terms for a President would be amended by removing the words “in row”. Before amendment comes into force, all the previously held offices of Presidents will be chalked off.
  • A Presidential candidate ought to have lived in Russia for at least 25 years.
  • Citizens who hold positions to safeguard national interests must not have foreign citizenship or foreign residence permit during their tenure, and in case of President, and at any time during or after the tenure.
  • Russian Constitution would take precedence over any other national or international legislation.
  • State Duma, the Lower House of the Parliament, would have the right to give consent and approval to the candidacy of Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and Federal Ministers. President cannot refuse their appointment but can remove them from office in certain situations.
  • One amendment outlaws same-sex marriage.

Many Russians signed a petition challenging Putin’s move as “politically, legally and ethically unacceptable”. However, Russia’s Constitutional Court has said that the amendment is legally correct.

Build-up of Power Concentration

  • 19 December 2019 – In a press conference, Putin announced possible amendments to the Constitution.
  • 15 January 2020 – Putin proposed the amendments in the Parliament. On the same day, the 32-Minister Cabinet led by former President and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev resigned.
  • 20 January 2020 – Putin submitted the draft Bill of the amendments to the Lower House, State Duma.
  • 11 March 2020 – State Duma approved the Bill.
  • 16 March 2020 – The Constitutional Court of Russia approved the amendments and said that they were not illegal.
  • 22 April 2020 – A nationwide referendum to clear the Bill might be held on this day, which marks Lenin’s 150th Birth Anniversary. The date might change due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Putin’s KGB Career – In 1975, Putin joined the KGB and trained at the 401st KGB school in Okhta, Leningrad. After training, he worked in the Second Chief Directorate (counter-intelligence), before he was transferred to the First Chief Directorate, where he monitored foreigners and consular officials in Leningrad. In September 1984, Putin was sent to Moscow for further training at the Yuri Andropov Red Banner Institute. From 1985 to 1990 he served in Dresden, East Germany, using a cover identity as a translator. Masha Gessen, a Russian-American who has authored a biography about Putin, claims “Putin and his colleagues were reduced mainly to collecting press clippings, thus contributing to the mountains of useless information produced by the KGB”. According to Putin’s official biography, during the fall of the Berlin Wall that began on 9 November 1989, he burned KGB files to prevent demonstrators from obtaining them. Putin resigned from the KGB in 1991, following the coup against Mikhail Gorbachev, as he did not agree with what had happened and did not want to be part of the intelligence in the new administration. More Info