Russia’s President Vladimir Putin says he doesn’t “rule out the possibility” of running for a 5th term if voters approve changes to the constitution later this summer.
In truth, Putin is pushing the changes solely so that he can run for 2 more 6-year terms.
Putin has his foot on the neck of the Russian people and isn’t about to take it off until they carry him out of the Kremlin feet first.
“I do not rule out the possibility of running for office, if this (option) comes up in the constitution. We’ll see,” Putin was quoted as saying in an interview with state TV that was shown in Russia’s far east before airing in western Russia. “I have not decided anything for myself yet.”
The changes that Russians will vote on, already approved by parliament and the Constitutional Court, would reset Putin’s presidential term tally to zero. He would not be able to seek a new term under current constitutional limits.
The changes are widely expected to be approved in the vote.
Putin has an interesting argument for the voters to approve the changes to the constitution.
Putin, who has been in power for two decades and is now 67, suggested the hunt for a candidate to succeed him could become a distraction if he does not run again.
“If this doesn’t happen, then in about two years – and I know this from personal experience – the normal rhythm of work of many parts of government will be replaced by a search for possible successors,” Interfax news agency cited him as saying.
“We must be working, not looking for successors,” he said.
The “normal rhythm of work” might be disrupted if Putin knew the race for president would be competitive, or even fair. If the changes are approved — and Putin has his hands on the levers that control the electoral process — Putin will have to run for president anyway. What he’s saying is that there’s zero chance he would lose.
Wonder where he gets that kind of confidence?
Putin has no real rivals because anyone who shows signs of becoming popular is sent to jail on trumped-up charges. Alexei Navalny, a leader of the weak and ineffective Russian opposition, was thrown in jail for “disturbing public order” — a Putin favorite for opposition politicians.
The outcome of the vote for constitutional changes has already been tabulated. A bookstore in Moscow is selling copies of the constitution with the changes already written in.
It’s like seeing a movie where you already know all the shocking plot twists. But don’t worry. Our hero saves the day in the end and gets the girl.