Vladimir Putin has moved one step closer to joining the “Presidents for Life” club.

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On Tuesday, President Putin backed proposals from Russian lawmakers that would clear the way for him to remain in power until 2036.

Here’s a bit of context

During a session of Russia’s lower house, Valentina Tereshkova, russian  lawmaker and the first woman in space, made a final-minute amendment to a constitutional reform bill, proposing that Putin’s presidential terms should be reset to zero.

She argued that Russia needed stability and that Putin was someone people trusted and depended upon.

What does resetting to zero mean

  • The current constitution allows presidents to remain in power for two consecutive six-year terms and Putin is currently two years into his fourth term, having moved to the position of prime minister between his second and third terms in office.
  • A public vote on the changes to the constitution will be held on April 22, the first referendum since the country passed Russia’s current constitution in 1993. The vote is widely seen as a sham exercise by western media.
  • If the vote passes and Putin’s years in office are wiped from the record, then he could stay in power for another two terms, until 2036, when he will be 84.

What now

Putin has been in power in Russia either as prime minister or president continuously for over 20 years. It makes him Russia’s longest-serving leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

By forcing a reset of the constitution, he is following in the footsteps of fellow authoritarian leader Xi Jinping, who in 2017 was effectively made the Chinese president for life.

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