Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the legislation that may be able to keep him in power until 2036, when he will be 83 years old.
- Putin, a former KGB officer who is now 68, completes his ongoing six-year tenure his fourth as President in 2024.
- He has already run the country either as President or as Prime Minister for more than 20 years.
- This is the longest period a leader has been in power since Joseph Stalin, who was Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922-1953) and the premier of the Soviet Union from 1941-1953.
- Some critics have likened Putin’s move to a power grab while others have called them a “constitutional coup”.
Before the new legislation was signed, a President could serve a maximum of two consecutive six-year terms. That term limit remains even in the new legislation.
- What has changed is that Putin’s previous terms will not be counted once the new legislation comes into effect.
- These will be “zeroed out”, giving him the option of serving two more consecutive terms after the current one ends in 2024.
Putin cited the example of US President Franklin D Roosevelt, who served four terms — starting 1932, 1936, 1940 and 1944.
- Roosevelt’s four-term presidency paved the way for the 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution, ratified in 1951, that limited the Presidential term to two four-year terms.
- Putin said Roosevelt had to serve four terms because of the problems the US was facing at the time (Great Depression, World War II) and that, therefore, putting limits on Presidential terms was sometimes superfluous.