Currently, Russia is split over the issue of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposed changes to the Russian constitution. The amendment would give the parliament more power as they would have a greater say in how the government is formed. For instance, with the changes, the candidate for Prime Minister would need to be confirmed by the lower house of Parliament. People dealing with the security of Russia, like the defense minister, would be chosen by the President after he consults with the upper house of Parliament. Additionally, the Premier’s cabinet would have to be chosen by the parliament and could not be rejected by the president. This is different from the current system where the cabinet does not need confirmation from Parliament.
Another change that Putin has made is that he replaced the now former Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev with Mikhail Mishustin who was formerly the head of the tax department.
Furthermore, Putin wants to change the number of terms that the president of Russia can fill. As of now, the president can serve for two consecutive terms. However, that limit does not prevent people from serving more than two terms as long as the terms are not in order. With the new changes, the president will only be able to serve two total terms.
The changes are expected to pass in Parliament over the next several months. There will also be a national vote in Spring 2020.
Some people are worried that the changes that Putin is making are designed to help him extend his rule over Russia. This concern is supported by Putin’s past actions where he was president for two terms, and then his predecessor increased the term length from four years to six years starting with the next president. That president happened to be Putin for another two terms. In the eyes of some people all these changes are just setting Putin up to be able to have power over the next president.
“Putin would like to have some leverage, some mechanism to control and to get involved, in case his successor makes mistakes or has some disagreements with him,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, who runs a platform that focuses on Russian politics called R. Politik.