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Russian Presidential Term to be Lengthened… Again?

Russian Presidential Term to be Lengthened… Again?

Vladimir Putin was reelected as president this past March amidst furious protests, marches and demonstrations. Polls have shown mixed reactions concerning the president, who originally served from 2000 to 2008. His first two terms, which were set at the traditional four-year term lengths, were followed by a mandatory four-year hiatus.

He abdicated power to his protege, Dmitry Medvedev, in 2008, whose administration successfully lengthened the presidential term to six years for every president after Medvedev. After Putin’s recent victory, he is guaranteed to retain power until at least 2018, but could be in the presidential seat until 2024 under current laws. Many protesters believe that Putin was reelected under false conditions but his administration has maintained innocence.

The Moscow Times reports this week that officials are now toying with the idea of lengthening the number of consecutive presidential terms one leader can take, which could potentially put Putin in power until 2030 or beyond.

Currently, presidents can only serve two consecutive terms, but because of the new six-year term, Putin can serve for 12 consecutive years completely legally. If the new legislation is drafted, it could mean serious changes to the way the presidency functions in Russia presently.

One chairman of the Duma’s Constitution and State Affairs Committee says that the legislation is not guaranteed to be legalized, stating to Ria Novosti, “It depends on how our system is working at the time.” The statement leaves the discussion on vague terms.

Putin’s government has been regularly condemned for its strict controls on citizens, demonstrations and civil rights. Multiple opposition leaders have been arrested after staging demonstrations in Moscow. Putin signed new sky-high fines into law this spring to discourage unsanctioned protests as well as making it illegal for LGBT activists to stage any events or speak out about sexuality or discrimination. Even internet privacy has been threatened by the current government, which wants to make a list of blacklisted websites that would be off-limits to citizens. Critics fear these steps may lead to a situation similar to China, where internet access is closely guarded.

Medvedev’s government had been cutting back on harsh punishments for such offenses as slander and protesting. Under the last few months since Putin’s inauguration, many of those policies have taken a decided shift towards greater control and limitations of civil rights.

The debate about term limitation extensions could continue into the next few years, but lawmakers have made it clear that it could be a possibility while Putin is still in office.

Related Stories:

Putin Plans to Cripple Protests with New Bloated Fines

Russian Official Wants National Gay Gag Rule

Russians’ Internet Privacy Threatened by Putin’s Government

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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17 comments

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3:27PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

There is a political term to describe lengthening presidential term limits. Its called dictatorship.

3:02PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

The man is an ex KGB thug. What do you expect. He will be president until he dies. As long as he is in charge he can change the rules anytime he wants. And if anyone disagrees with him he will just have them eliminated. He has done it before and will not hesitate to do it again. He is a force to be reckened with.
People like Steve R would rather just stick their head in the sand and pretend thugs like this don't exist.

2:13PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

Thanks for the news anyway...at least i agree with others that Romney is greedy..he needs to stay in his corporate world...

1:21PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

Is there any reason why I should care what Putin does in Russia? We have enough problems in the US with greedy trash like Romney running for office to worry about Russia.

10:49AM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

The corporate world produces aggressive leaders. Can fascism and violence be far behind?

9:57AM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

Personally I like the Roman Empire's system. During the Republic a dictator was appointed for 4 years and at the end of it a vote was taken whether to allow him to retire to his country estate or be executed. It must have focused their minds on the job in hand.

8:44AM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

All I know is I would not be comfortable with my president serving in the KGB.

8:33AM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

70 billion dollars is reportedly what this former mid-level KGB agent is now worth.. There is no difference between the Russian Mafia & Russian Government , Check the emails from Wiki Leaks.. the worlds criminals want to shut it down, the people should be screaming for it to be kept up..

6:47AM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

Somebody close to Putin should tell him to look at Mrubarak in Egypt. Many dictators are ending up in the same boat--Putin and Assad of Syria should jump in the boat soon.

5:59AM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

Perhaps they're looking at the American election circus and thinking "Good grief - we can't afford to spend that much money on elections every four years"!!!!!

Get over it - it's RUSSIA - you live in AMERICA!

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