Updated Mar 11, 2020 - World

Russian parliament passes bill that allows Putin to rule until 2036

Photo: Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Russia's parliament approved constitutional amendments backed by President Vladimir Putin that, among other changes, could allow him to remain in power until 2036 by resetting his presidential tenure after his current term ends in 2024.

The state of play: The question of what will happen at the end of Putin's current term has loomed over Russia, leading him to propose sweeping constitutional changes earlier this year. Russia's Duma applied the rubber stamp in a 383-0 vote, with 43 abstentions.

  • Putin's proposals, rolled out in January, would divert some presidential powers to parliament and empower the unelected State Council.
  • But Tuesday's move to throw his support behind the term limits change likely indicates he does not intend to change roles at all.

Between the lines: Dmitri Trenin, director of Carnegie Moscow, tells Axios that the news has been met with "a lot of confusion" because he had previously signaled that he'd be "overseeing the transition from the State Council or the Security Council."

  • "It looks like his initial plan ran into opposition from those around him who fear for their position," Trenin says.

Where things stand: Russia's Kremlin-compliant constitutional court must approve the changes before they go before the Russian people in a national referendum on April 22.

  • Putin, 67, has been in power for 20 years. The changes could allow him to remain in the Kremlin for another 16 — with two six-year terms following his current mandate.
  • He had previously seemed to reject the idea of becoming "president for life," but his plan for 2024 and beyond has been shrouded in secrecy.
  • In order to boost turnout in the referendum, Putin has proposed several socially conservative measures, including a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

What he's saying: "For now, stability and the steady development of the country are more important but, later, when the country is surer of itself, has more resources — flab around the waist, as they say — then we should absolutely ensure a transfer of power," Putin said last week, per the FT.

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