Russian President Vladimir Putin repoprtedly said that a transition plan was crucial as he does not want his country to return to the Soviet-era practice of rulers dying in office without a concrete succession plan. At a meeting with World War II veterans in St Petersberg, Putin was asked if he could consider removing presidential term limits from the constitution to which the Russian President replied that leaving the office without having secured necessary conditions for a transition of power would be very worrying.
Putin had proposed sweeping constitutional changes during a presidential address to the Federal Assembly on January 15. Putin’s suggestions were followed by the resignation of Dmitry Medvedev from the Prime Minister’s post and of the Russian government.
“I truly believe that it is time to introduce certain changes to our country’s main law, changes that will directly guarantee the priority of the Russian Constitution in our legal framework,” said Putin during the address.
On January 16, the Russian President held a meeting with members of the working group on drafting proposals for amendments to the Constitution. The working group comprises 75 politicians, legislators, scholars and public figures, approved after presidential instruction. After Putin signed the executive order on the changes to the composition of the Security Council of Russia, Mikhail Mishustin, a lesser-known face, was appointed as the Prime Minister.
Earlier in December, Putin had dropped a hint about his political future post-2024 at a marathon conference where he was in favour of removing the word ‘successive’ from tenure length. As per the Russian Constitution, a President can stay for six years with one successive re-election, which makes it 12 years at stretch.
In 2008, Putin handed over the presidency to his ally Dmitry Medvedev and got back in 2012. Speculations were rife that the Russian President might use the same tactic to return to power but Putin’s hint said otherwise. At the annual conference, Putin said that he had served two successive terms and had the constitutional right to return to the post of the president but this could be “possibly” removed due to objections from political scientists and activists.