Russia will vote from Thursday to July 1 for a referendum to allow Vladimir Putin to remain in power until 2036. The reform will allow the incumbent president to run for another two terms after 2024.
Russian voters are called to the polls from Thursday to July 1 to speak at a referendum on constitutional reform. The latter should allow President Vladimir Putin to remain in power until 2036 and put his mark on the constitution.
The formal date for the popular consultation is July 1, but authorities opened the polling stations as early as June 25 to avoid excessive crowds because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Disinfection masks and gels are made available to approximately 110 million voters across the 11 time zones in Russia, from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsk (GMT + 12) to Kaliningrad (GMT + 2).
The vote was originally scheduled for April 22 but was postponed due to Covid-19. This first reform of the 1993 constitution was initiated by Vladimir Putin in January.
Although the text has already been adopted by Parliament, the Russian president wanted to organize such a folbiscite and argue about the importance of the subject.
Poutine for life?
For the Kremlin’s main opponent, AlexeïNavalny, this vote is part of a populist strategy whose sole purpose is to “restore Putin’s conditions to zero, give him the right to a presidency for life.”
“It’s a violation of the constitution, a coup,” he said on social media in June.
In concrete terms, the reform allows the current president to remain in the Kremlin for two more terms, until 2036, the year of his 84th birthday. According to the rule of law, Vladimir Putin should have resigned from the presidency in 2024.
“We have to work and not look for successors”
However, due to the epidemic and lack of access to different voices to the media, the campaign against the reform has never taken off.
The planned assembly in April in Moscow could not take place because of the containment. The site “Niet” which collected signatures from Russians opposed to the reforms was blocked by justice and forced it to restart under a different domain name.
Older political officials have meanwhile emphasized the importance of allowing Vladimir Putin to remain in command of the country.
For the Moscow mayor, SergeiSobianin, the reform is necessary to “guarantee stability, remove uncertainty”.
Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that he has not yet decided whether to stay in the Kremlin after 2024, but that it was essential to give him the chance.
“Otherwise, I know that in two years instead of working normally at all levels of the state, all eyes will be looking for potential successors. We must work and not look for successors,” he insisted. .
If the validation of the reform has almost been acquired – the revised constitution is already in sale in bookstores – it will still come at a time when the president’s popularity suffered from a decried pension reform and the krona virus crisis.
From May 2018 to May 2020, its approval rate measured by the Independent Levada Institute went from 79% to 59%.
In addition to the issue of mandate, the president reinforces certain privileges with certain referendums, such as appointments and dismissals of judges.
To this is added an indexation of pensions, the “faith in God” which is rooted in the constitution and marriage as a heterosexual institution.
These principles, which will unite the Russians, are at the heart of the conservative patriotic value system of the Russian head of state.
On the streets of Moscow, the poster campaign for reform on social themes insists on this child kissing his grandmother under the slogan “for a guaranteed pension”, or this model family who wants to “protect the family’s values”.