Russians opened the door to Vladimir Putin staying in power until 2036 by voting overwhelmingly for constitutional changes that will allow him to run again for president twice, but critics said the outcome was falsified on an industrial scale.
Russian Federation has no plans to take into account other countries' "concerns" about constitutional amendments approved in the nationwide vote, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday.
Governor Yury Bezdudny linked his constituents' protest vote to their opposition against a proposal for the region to merge with the Arkhangelsk region. Following a postponement caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a referendum on changes to the country's basic law was carried out between 25 June and 1 July, with the voting being stretched to almost a week to prevent overcrowding at polling stations and maintain proper social distancing.
Other important amendments include a guaranteed minimum pension for retirees, the primacy of Russian law over global norms, and a declaration in belief in God as a core value of the Russian Federation. "Look what is going on, what this pandemic has led to, what processes it has provoked in many countries, which call themselves "old democracies" with stable democratic traditions", he said.
Putin proposed amending the constitution in January and insisted on putting the language on his eligibility for office and the other topics up to a nationwide vote.
Already the longest-serving leader in modern Russian history since Josef Stalin, Putin has said he has yet to decide on his political future but wanted officials to avoid getting distracted by the question of who one day might succeed him. The commission estimated the turnout was 65% of eligible voters. "If the constitution allows the opportunity, we will see", he said.
The vote was the final step to incorporating the amendments into the constitution.
Following Yeltsin's resignation, four months later, Putin became the president in 1999. To that end, Moscow and other local governments offered cash prizes and appliance raffles to voters, while large companies were reported to have urged employees to go to the polls.
The Kremlin "definitely considers this as a triumph", presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, describing the vote as a "referendum on trust" in the Russian president.
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