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International News, Moscow

Putin a step away from goal as constitutional vote nears end

Russian President Vladimir Putin is just a step away from bringing about constitutional changes that would allow him to extend his rule until 2036.

6/30/2020 4:15:00 PM

Russia n President Vladimir Putin is just a step away from bringing about constitutional changes that would allow him to extend his rule until 2036.

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia n President Vladimir Putin is just a step away from completing his main political project of the year — constitutional changes that would allow him to extend his rule until...

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin is just a step away from completing his main political project of the year — constitutional changes that would allow him to extend his rule until 2036.A nationwide plebiscite on the amendments that would reset the clock on Putin’s tenure and enable him to serve two more six-year terms is set to wrap up Wednesday after a week of early balloting. For the first time in Russia, polls were open for a week to help reduce crowds and to bolster turnout amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Putin is all but guaranteed to get the result he wants following a massive campaign to get Russia’s voters to say “yes” to the changes. However, the plebiscite intended to consolidate his hold on power could end up undermining his position because of the unconventional methods used to boost participation and the dubious legal basis for the balloting.

ADVERTISEMENTGleb Pavlovsky, a political analyst and former Kremlin political consultant, said Putin’s unrelenting push for holding the vote despite coronavirus infection levels remaining high reflects the Russian leader’s potential vulnerabilities.“Putin lacks confidence in his inner circle and he’s worried about the future,” Pavlovsky said. “He wants an irrefutable proof of public support.”

The balloting completes a convoluted saga of concealment, deception and surprise that began in January when Putin first proposed the constitutional changes in a state-of-the-nation address. He offered to broaden the powers of parliament and redistribute authority among the branches of the Russian government, stoking speculation he might continue calling the shots as parliament speaker or as chairman of the State Council when his presidential term ends in 2024.

The amendments, which also emphasize the priority of Russian law over international norms, outlaw same-sex marriages and mention “a belief in God” as a core value, quickly sailed through the Kremlin-controlled parliament.As speculation swirled about Putin’s future, the 67-year-old leader remained poker-faced until March 10. That’s when legislator Valentina Tereshkova, a Soviet-era cosmonaut who was the first woman in space in 1963, suddenly proposed a measure to let Putin run two more times. In a carefully choreographed show, Putin then arrived in parliament just before the final vote to endorse Tereshkova’s proposal.

The maneuver stunned Russian political elites who were busy guessing about Putin’s future and possible successors. Many saw the resetting of term limits as an attempt by Putin to avoid becoming a lame duck and to quell a power struggle in his inner circle.

ADVERTISEMENTThe Russian president, who has been in power for more than two decades — longer than any other Kremlin leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin — said he would decide later whether to run again in 2024. He argued that resetting the term count was necessary to keep his lieutenants from “darting their eyes in search for possible successors instead of normal, rhythmical work.”

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While Putin used his KGB-honed skills of deception to delude both the public and his own entourage, he complicated his constitutional plan by putting it to voters even though parliamentary approval was sufficient to make it law.The move was intended to showcase his broad support and add a democratic veneer to the constitutional changes. But it backfired weeks later when the coronavirus pandemic engulfed Russia, forcing Putin to postpone the plebiscite originally scheduled for April 22.

The delay stymied Putin’s campaign blitz and left his constitutional reform plan hanging as the damage from the virus mounted and public discontent grew. Plummeting incomes and rising unemployment during Russia’s outbreak have dented his approval ratings, which sank to 59% during Russia’s outbreak, the lowest level since his ascent to power, according to the Levada Center, Russia’s top independent pollster.

Amid the uncertainty, Putin rescheduled the vote immediately upon seeing the first signs of a slowdown in Russia’s infection rate even though the number of new confirmed cases reported daily remains high.Moscow-based political analyst Ekaterina Schulmann said the Kremlin faced a difficult dilemma. Holding the vote sooner would bring accusations of jeopardizing public health for political ends, while delaying it further raised the risk of defeat, she said.

“A late vote could have been lost. Holding it in the autumn would have been too risky,” Schulmann said.She noted that the vote comes shortly after the government’s lifting of coronavirus restrictions helped brighten the public mood.“The early date has an advantage of coming soon after lifting the quarantine restrictions that made voters feel more optimistic,” she said. “And in general, people are in a better mood during the summer season.”

Schulmann argued that the Kremlin’s focus isn’t so much on boosting overall turnout but rather on increasing attendance by the public sector workers who make up Putin’s base.The authorities have mounted a sweeping effort to persuade teachers, doctors, workers at public sector enterprises and others who are paid by the state to cast ballots. Reports surfaced from many corners of the vast country that managers were coercing people to vote.

The Kremlin also has used other tactics to increase turnout and support for the amendments.Prizes ranging from gift certificates to cars and apartments were offered as an encouragement, giant billboards went up across Russia and celebrities posted ads for the “yes” vote on social media.

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Two regions with large numbers of voters — Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod — allowed electronic balloting.At the same time, monitoring the vote became more challenging due to hygiene requirements and more arcane rules for election observers. Kremlin critics argued that these would increase opportunities for vote fraud.

Russia’s weakened and fragmented opposition split into two camps over the amendments: those who called for a boycott of the vote, like the most visible Kremlin foe, Alexei Navalny, and those who advocated voting against the constitutional changes.Most observers expect the Kremlin to get its way, regardless of the opposition’s strategies.

“People are angry at the government, but they still don’t have any alternative to Putin,” Pavlovsky said.He noted, however, that the unusual methods used by authorities to boost turnout and get the result Putin wants would undermine the legitimacy of the vote.

“The procedure has been distorted and simplified to the point when it would be difficult to trust the figures,” Pavlovsky said.Schulmann also warned that the balloting will likely fail to serve its designated purpose of cementing Putin’s rule as the economic pain from the coronavirus deepens.

“I think the vote will not be perceived as the legitimizing one,” she said, drawing a parallel with the 2018 presidential election that Putin won with 77% of the vote, only to see public support dwindle shortly as living standards stagnated and the government made the unpopular decision to raise the retirement age.

“Now, the situation has become more radical and both the approval and trust ratings are lower than they were two years ago,” she said. Read more: The Associated Press »

Trumps Buddy. What do the Russian people think about this? Что думают Русские люди об этом? That’s pure addiction of power. Is he really hooked on it? This is not news to anyone. Putin had zero intention of leaving office (since the day he was sworn in). He's just trying to use Russia's legal system to justify his dictatorship. It'll be the year 2100 and Putin's 13th clone will rule Russia.

Meh. It's like Copyright Law in the US. Mickey Mouse will *never* be public domain. They'll keep extending copyright with another Mickey Mouse Protection Act any time that gets close. Same thing with Putin. The date will always be pushed back until he dies. And not one single Russian can do a thing about it !

And now ladies and gentlemen, we present to you: the most hollow,barebones constitution ever drafted Headline should read Russian Dictator* instead of President. CIKRussia zp6_4 Харя у путина схожа на усаженного в горшок без клизмы Надо же сперва гавно с него выпустить Не то жди гавна на целый век и надо голосовать.

Would someone please let him know trump is able to serve as his VP beginning January 21st. Actually we’ll let him go amytime. I feel bad for the Russian people that they have a mob-style dictator in charge. We in the USA have a mob-style dictator wannabe. Hope we can stop him Wouldn’t Trump love to be able to do that

mcnovelli1 See the doc Citizen K on PRIME if you are looking for something to watch. what a cliffhanger This is the future the Trump cult wants. Is it just him, or does his successor get a potential 30 years as supreme leader Imagine if U.S. got 16 more years of Donald Trump... 👀 Let is be. The rest if the world will isolate the country also till 2036 and beyond. Isolation will put the country on the NK trail. So be it. The world can do without those facists regime, the world has done before.

realDonaldTrump Putin and BLotus are like a horse and carriage. Bankrupt corrupt businessman leads the United States? Wtf? All the American COVID19 victims are Donald Trump’s fault. Blotus calls it a Democratic hoax. You’re going to jail January 21, 2021. Best friends with... T_ _ _ _ Another word......be afraid, be very afraid.

Russian dictator, not president, AP. Name things what they are. The legitimate press needs to report facts and truth. Equivocation, niceties, and hand-ringing 'fairness' has brought confusion and chaos to the world. mcnovelli1 God, save us all! Why do we care what Putin thinks ? Oh yeah Trump TraitorInChief RemoveTrumpandPutinNOW

History repeats itself, like on their old empires! But never for good! Is POTUS voting in that election? happy heart attack before 2036. After all that's what eliminated most of you since Stalin I can see tiny hands taking notes... AND....making Trump SOOOOOO Jealous!!!! Don’t let trump see this Vlad Putin will declare himself 'President Forever'. And will keep on running Russia LONG after he's dead. vikasF22

Putin is stinking around because of what Israel is doing in the world today Justin Trudeau, Coronavirus, outbreak, Doug Ford, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel ISIS, Israel Security Intelligence Services. He will have to killed before he gives up power. Trump is so jealous 🤢 Keep in mind that this is trump's benefactor. Sure he is taking notes for the same with GOP compliance.

This is why Trump idolizes this guy. He would love to be such a 'successful' dictator. Why does he even bother with a constitution. Just tear it up and keep it moving. I hear Trump will do the same........... A Actual GIF... realDonaldTrump is PutinsPuppet ... How's that wedgy 😂 King Putin Why are Russian citizens allowing this?

Don’t give Cheeto any ideas. “Vote” as if being poisoned to death as the other option presents a choice. Busy guy President of Russia too.. good of him to take a 2nd Job Send in a seal team and put an end to Puttin once and for all. This guy is a horrible person. Almost as bad as the cast at CNNnewsroom or the dirty Democrats. The silent majority is sick of your bias reporting and also sick of Puttin

Please kindly check his DNA in case has African blood running in him. Putin may have dropped the European garments of leadership to adorn that of his African counterparts. Trump would love this. I can smell the envy seeping out of every pore of Rumpzilla’s face. JoeBiden are you really going to risk 4 more years of Russian interference in our government and elections? We need MichelleObama we need her! I love Rice, I love Harris, we need Obama!

Hopefully he has room on his staff for Trump and his family. 普京当官的瘾比天大! Put him in prison already. WTF?! Frightening....a dictator in action Trump is asking, can I do that, can I change the Constitution? America to Trump 🙄, nope can't do. Of course we expect the idiot who doesn't read or ignore the briefings about Russia/Taliban bounties on our soldiers to want to emulate the man responsible for the bounties.

Trump's dream. LOL, like he needed those 'changes'.... Now do China. Democracy 2.0 at this point he could just crown himself Czar. you have 9 mistakes in the word tsar When this comes to an end, Vlad will cry Based. Suppose the people wanted that as well, isn't that just democracy working and we would be the ones fighting against it? 😂

Anything short of 3036 is a sign of weakness from Putin. He is losing control in his power struggle. Oh wells, not my problem. Well its only what happens here in the UK except they change the name and colour. Trump is an asset of Putin's. All roads lead to Putin and they are paved with laundered money from Russian Oligarchs all the way back to Atlantic City via Deutsche Bank. Follow the money...

It all stinks of poo in a tin He isn't going anywhere he has his mitts in the United states and he controls the president. He is not going no where. Way too much power for one person to have Czar Putin The whole concept of Russia as a nation is just a farce. Don’t matter what Boris or Trump do, this is our Leader!!! By 2037 he will rule the WORLD

why bother with a constitution Russia? Greeeaaat....let’s not give Trump anymore “good” ideas please. Guess they're going to Clone Him. Stupid Ass I think it’s safe to say that they should never have trained a rabid sociopath to be a spy. It has not turned out well. The main reason trump likes Putin!!! Longevity at the dictatorship position!!! Sorry 45, we have limits, Thank GOD!!!

Russians love him because nobody has taken a shot at him. If his people democratically vote for it, then fine, if not, then that’s fine, too. Red Flags on the Play 🚩 🚩 Trump is envious🤔 We'll be there soon too Baller. The actual fuck? Why decline a stable leadership that steers the nation in the right direction? Especially compared to the crisis of leadership taking place in the US. Good for Russia!

TRUMP IS PUTIN'S LAP DOG! DICTATOR-WANNA-BE And the United States is one election away from ensuring that doesn't happen. Dictator? I don't see any. He's looking fat in the face recently. Bet he's been hitting that Vodka pretty good. Slave of power. Of course he did. He wants to be in a position of power when America is on its knees.

Its not a real constitution if the chief executive can change it anytime he wants to in order to retain or expand his own power. Nobody tell trump this 😬 Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord God ; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: Ezekiel 39:1 KJV 2032 Marks 2000 yrs since resurrection.

Meanwhile, America impotent, asleep at the wheel. PUTIN PUTTING IN? Hillary's brother. I’m sure Trump will try and follow suit. Putin also rules the US. The evil empire hasn’t changed. The next US President Russians on some other shit fr Big winners are the Democrats --another 16 years of collusion Wow sounds like a Democrat

美国是多么邪恶,硬生生逼着俄罗斯修改宪法,让一个老人无法正常退休,简直就是邪恶的帝国

Russian state exit polls show 76% so far back reforms that could extend Putin rule Russia n state opinion pollster VTsIOM said on Monday that its exit polls showed that 76% of Russia ns had so far voted to support reforms that could allow President Vladimir Putin to extend his rule until 2036. 🇹🇷🇹🇷🇹🇷🇹🇷🇹🇷🇹🇷🇹🇷🇹🇷🇹🇷S*E*L*A*M*..SENDE..TAVŞANA KAÇ..TAZIYA..TUT..DEMEKTEN..VAZGEÇECEKSİN...PUTİN...S*E*L*A*M* I’m sure those numbers are legit 🤣 Was poll outcome released before or after polling?

Putin Pushes Through Referendum Even as Virus Surges in RussiaThe coronavirus pandemic is raging across much of Russia . That has not dimmed the Kremlin’s determination to hold a nationwide vote on constitutional amendments that, among other things, would enable President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036. You mean Russia is really Wisconsin? They should arrest the cops that killed BreonnaTalyor Sounds very similar to a certain someone in the USA.

Carl Bernstein: Trump Was ‘Delusional’ And Outmatched In Calls With Putin And ErdoganOne source described the nature of the calls between Trump and Putin as sounding like “two guys in a steam bath.” Huffpost is democratic propaganda. Ask yourself, why does huffpost never post about the biggest story of this decade: Jeffrey Epstein. Yikes. That's really not how you want that conversation described. At least there was no talk of golden showers

'Betrayal': U.S. army intel officer slams 'disloyal' Trump for being 'obedient' to PutinLieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters is a retired U.S. Army intelligence officer and author. He joins MSNBC’s Legal Correspondent Ari Melber to discuss reports Russia offered a bounty to the Taliban to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan and the potential new scandal about what President Trump knew about this, and when. Peters saying “there’s no question in my mind that Putin has something on Trump” and that Trump “desperately” wants Russia ’s help with 2020. Keyword: retired Irrellevant.

Q&A: What Does the Russia Vote Mean for Putin?What does President Vladimir Putin ’s referendum mean for Russia ? The result of the vote isn’t in much doubt, but the outcome could mean far-reaching changes for the country as Putin lays plans to prolong his reign Xi Putin Mr Kim they all share as president for life to protect family wealth They can not take the money to the heaven It means no how often they try, the Russians just cannot function in a democracy. Best bet. Leave them alone and deal with it. you mean emperor putin

New reports raise urgent question: Is there any line Trump won't allow Putin to cross?As a game of who knew what when plays out concerning US intelligence that Russia was allegedly paying Taliban proxies to kill US and British troops in Afghanistan, we can't lose sight of the big picture: Putin feels increasingly empowered under this President and that's a dangerous outlook for US national security, writes Samantha Vinograd sam_vinograd Opinion What’s the logic? sam_vinograd Opinion Maybe, just maybe had you not assisted in perpetuating the biggest political hoax in history anyone but far Left nut jobs would believe this story. sam_vinograd Opinion Lying cnn