Russia Clears Way for Putin
Posted on Nov 14, 2008
If you thought U.S. democracy was a sham, consider a constitutional amendment passed by the Russian parliament Wednesday that lengthens the country’s presidential term from four to six years, paving the way for a certain Vladimir Putin to come back to power as president as early as next year.
Russia’s parliament voted today to extend the presidential term from four to six years, in a move that entrenches the Kremlin’s grip on power and paves the way for an early comeback by Vladimir Putin.
The country’s Duma, or lower house, voted overwhelmingly to back the constitutional amendment, which had its first reading after Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s president, abruptly suggested it last week.
The parliament also voted to extend the Duma’s term from four to five years. The amendment—likely to be ratified next Tuesday—does not apply to Medvedev, whose current four-year presidential stint isn’t due to finish until 2012.
But it comes amid feverish speculation that Putin, Russia’s powerful prime minister, is planning an early return to the Kremlin—possibly in the spring next year. Failing that, he is likely to get his old job back in 2012, analysts suggest.
Putin, who was president before he was prime minister, is likely to get his old job back by 2012 at the latest, analysts say.