Political Editors / January 17, 2020

Putin Proposes Russia Return to Tyranny

His aim is to consolidate his hold on power following the end of his term in 2024.

In a not-so-shocking turn of events, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev and his entire government resigned following President Vladimir Putin’s proposed constitutional changes — changes that would effectively extend his rule indefinitely. As NBC News reports, “Russian President Putin on Wednesday proposed a nationwide vote on sweeping constitutional changes that would shift power from the presidency to parliament and the prime minister, a move that could allow him to extend his rule after leaving the Kremlin.” Well, it looks like Putin has hit that old “reset” button again…

Medvedev, Putin’s long-time lackey, resigned so as to give Putin near-unilateral authority to change the constitution, and Putin’s changes effectively swing power away from the presidency to the parliament and more specifically the prime minister. Seeking to paint the move with the veneer of democracy, Putin called for a nationwide vote on his changes.

This move is reminiscent of Putin’s manipulations from 2008 to 2012, when he relinquished the presidency in order to observe the constitution’s term limits, yet became the prime minister with Medvedev serving as his puppet president. Washington Examiner’s Tom Rogan observes, “It’s pretty clear that Putin is creating new political structures to restrain the power of future presidents. An important factor to consider is that while these amendments seem declarative, Putin will play an outsize role in their interpretation and action. Again, this is about ensuring that no future leader can wrest control from Putin in a way that would jeopardize his interests.” And, Rogan adds, “The key takeaway here is that whether in the shadows or otherwise, Putin is going to be the Russian czar for a long time to come.”

Finally, Mark Alexander notes, “There is an arguable parallel between Putin’s efforts to erode the Russian constitution’s voter protections and Democrat efforts to erode our Constitution’s voter protections by eliminating the Electoral College.”

(Updated.)

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