Russian President Vladimir Putin swiftly dismissed his comparison with an imperial tsar saying he works every day and listens to the wishes of citizens. In an interview with the state-run TASS news agency, Putin said that he doesn’t reign like a tsar who just sits at the top and give orders, on the contrary, he works every day.
Putin’s comparison with the tsar gained momentum after the 67-year-old proposed and approved a package of constitutional reforms with giving himself an option to run for two more terms. It was sent to the Russian Constitutional Court which cleared the proposal to let Putin stay in power beyond term limits. The sweeping reforms will be voted by the public and Kremlin has set April 22 as the day of voting.
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.
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.