MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a law allowing him to potentially retain power until 2036, a move that formalizes constitutional changes approved in a vote last year.
The July 1 constitutional vote included a provision that reset the limits of Putin’s previous term, allowing him to run for president two more times. The change was approved by the Kremlin-controlled legislature and the relevant law signed by Putin was posted on an official legal information portal on Monday.
The 68-year-old Russian president, in power for more than two decades – longer than any other Kremlin leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin – said he would later decide whether to run again in 2024 when his term in office current six-year-old. ends.
He argued that resetting the term count was necessary to keep his lieutenants focused on their work instead of “peering out at each other for possible successors.”
The constitutional amendments also emphasized the primacy of Russian law over international standards, prohibited same-sex marriages, and mentioned “belief in God” as a core value. Almost 78% of voters approved the constitutional amendments in the ballot which lasted a week and ended on July 1. The participation rate was 68%.
As a result of the vote, Russian lawmakers methodically amended national legislation, approving relevant laws.
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The opposition criticized the constitutional vote, arguing it was tarnished by numerous reports of voter pressure and other irregularities, as well as a lack of transparency and obstacles to independent oversight.
In the months following the vote, Russia jailed the country’s most prominent opposition figure, Alexei Navalny,
Navalny, 44, was arrested in January on his return from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from poisoning with a nerve agent he attributes to the Kremlin. Russian authorities have dismissed the accusation.
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In February, Navalny was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for violating the terms of his probation while recovering in Germany. The conviction stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that Navalny dismissed as fabricated – and which the European Court of Human Rights ruled illegal.
His team said Navalny lost a lot of weight even before he started a hunger strike on Wednesday to protest authorities’ inability to provide proper treatment for his back and leg pain.
Navalny complained about the refusal of prison officials to give him the appropriate medication and to allow his doctor to visit him. He also protested the time checks a guard gave him at night, saying they amounted to sleep deprivation.
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In an Instagram post on Monday, Navalny said three of the 15 people in his penal colony room were diagnosed with tuberculosis. He noted that he had a strong cough and a fever of 38.1 degrees Celsius (100.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
In a scathing note, Navalny said he and other inmates had studied a TB prevention advisory that stressed the importance of boosting immunity with a balanced diet – advice that contrasted with a prison ration of “Sticky porridge and frozen potatoes”.
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