I might have been wrong about Putin

10 Mar 2020

(Moscow-on-Thames) I’ll say it: Sometimes I get it wrong. Or not quite right. Which is almost the same thing.

In case you’ve missed it, today’s news is that Valentina Terehskova, a United Russia Duma Deputy and the first woman in space, proposed ‘resetting’ Putin’s presidential terms, allowing him to run again. The Speaker of the Duma called Putin. Putin said ok. And that was that.

Within the space of about 20 minutes, one of the key planks of Putin’s constitutional reform — limiting the president to two terms — evaporated.

This is, frankly, flabbergasting. In an address broadcast even on the side of buildings across the country, Putin promised two key political reforms: Limiting the president to two terms only, and transferring power from the Kremlin to the Duma. Neither of those promises has made it into the final text (subject to a ruling of the Constitutional Court, but it’s very had to imagine that going the other way).

What Putin’s reform gives us, then, is a strengthened presidency that Putin himself will now be allowed to occupy until 2036. [...]

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