Not everyone’s a fan of Putin’s retirement plans.
How are your retirement plans going? Have you found that cute house in the suburbs with a yard? Do you have enough put away for you to continue living how you’d like? Some stop upgrading their phones every year to save up that money or plan on investments.
If you are a workaholic like Putin, though, you may be looking for ways to keep doing what you love doing even after you take a step back.
That is exactly what’s happening in Russia right now.
As it stands, the same person cannot be the president for more than two consecutive terms. However, there is no limit on the total number of terms a person can hold the position of the President. That is why, in 2008, in the middle of his second term, Putin appointed First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as his successor. A day later, Putin was named the Prime Minister of Russia.
This power switch cleared the way for Putin to run for president in 2012 while maintaining power. He was subsequently re-elected in 2018 and will conclude his fourth term in 2024, after which he will be ineligible to run for a third consecutive term.
It does not seem to bother him, though, as it looks like he has other plans. Earlier in the week, Putin proposed sweeping changes to the Russian Constitution. Contrary to popular belief, he’s not abolishing the consecutive terms limit to become the eternal leader of the Russian Federation.
His propositions basically meant weakening the presidency in exchange for giving more power to the prime minister and the parliament.
Soon after the announcement, the entire Russian government, along with Prime Minister Medvedev, announced that they would be resigning. Putin thanked them for their hard work and swiftly appointed Mikhail Mishustin, the head of the Federal Tax Service, as the new Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev released a statement saying that the government was resigning only to clear the way for Putin. According to him, what Putin was proposing would essentially be changing the fundamental values of the Russian constitution. Of course, Putin wasn’t about to leave his pal hanging. Medvedev was appointed as the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council.
Putin, on the other hand, only considers this as a power shakeup that could only benefit the people. Pundits beg to differ. Just like how Putin cunningly maintained power in 2008, many believe his recent amendments have the very same motive. While Putin cannot run for president again in 2024, he can hold the Prime Minister’s office or be apart of the State Council.
Assigning more power to the lower levels of government may grant Putin political power even after leaving office.
We have seen this before in Turkey. Originally, there were laws that would forbid anyone from being the president more than 2 times. But during his 2nd term in 2016, Erdoğan had the majority of the parliament and more than 50% of the public behind him and changed the laws just in a way that allowed him to extend his rule until 2029.
As outsiders, these may seem unethical and a mere attempt to hold on to power, but the masses seem to approve. Is this another power grab by Putin or is he truly making revolutionary reform to the constitution.