Daniel Halliday
Jan 23 · Last update 15 days ago.

Is Russia’s government shake-up an excuse for Putin to stay in power?

On the 15th January 2020 the entire Russian government resigned simultaneously as Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a range of constitutional changes in his Federal Assembly Address that will by put in place before he retires from government in 2024. Opinions seem split on the reason for this as speculations mount over Putin’s intentions towards the end of his near quarter century in power, in one format or another. What is behind the Russian government shake-up? Is this an attempt, by Putin, to stay in power beyond the end of his term limit in 2024? Or can something else explain this changing of the guard in Russian politics? www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200123_18
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Yes
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Not exactly …
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No, these reforms prevent future power grabs
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Yes

Although this set of changes to Russia’s political system seems outwardly set to restrict the power of the presidency, essentially limiting the power of his successor, this move is widely seen as an effort to keep a grip on power. Analysts claim Putin will be able to maintain influence in Russian politics beyond his current and final term of his presidency, this shake-up has been compared to Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew who sat on an advisory board as a Senior Minister after ruling as prime minster for 31 years. In this way, constraining the power of his successor ensures they will be weaker and more inhibited than he has been, while Putin himself occupies an executive position, potentially leaving him with further political influence than any successor.

In March 2020 however, Putin undermined even analyst claims of seeking an executive position of power, when Russian lawmakers approved a revision to the drafted constitutional amendments made in January. This new amendment would see the new presidential limits only applied to future presidents and not to Putin himself. Under these new constitutional changes Putin would be able to remain president until 2036, well into his eighties.

www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2020/january/russian-government-quits-as-putin-tries-to-cling-to-power theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/15/putin-calls-for-constitution-changes-that-would-weaken-successor vox.com/2020/1/15/21066985/russian-government-resigned-putin-constitutional-reforms youtube.com/watch?v=2FnvHf6lSj8 edition.cnn.com/2020/01/16/europe/russia-reaction-putin-reforms-intl/index.html edition.cnn.com/2020/03/10/europe/russia-constitution-putin-presidency-intl/index.html

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Daniel Halliday
Mar 18
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DH edited this paragraph
In March 2020 however, Putin undermined even analyst claims of seeking an executive position of power, when Russian lawmakers approved a revision to the drafted constitutional amendments made in January. This new amendment would see the new presidential limits only applied to future presidents and not to Putin himself. Under these new constitutional changes Putin would be able to remain president until 2036, well into his eighties.

Not exactly …

The political situation in Russia is not comparable to other countries, and although this move is seen as being a retirement plan similar to authoritarian rulers like Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, the constitutional changes themselves are a mixed bag. There have been some democratic failings in Russian government, with Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev using constitutional loopholes to continually stay in office beyond normal limits, but these constitutional changes look set to close this loophole and make this more difficult in the future. But while Putin does seem to be getting around this using constitutional amendments this is not all that is at play here, as the recent constitutional shake up also sets to establish some sort of social security net for Russian citizens.

This is actually seen as a positive move for Russian citizens by some, with the constitutional changes set to establish social security and minimum wage payments to bring people above the poverty line. The changes also seem to establish something similar to a supreme court, and will allow this court to preside over constitutional changes before they go to the president, again taking power away from the office of the president. Furthermore the amendments will give the power of appointing Prime Minister of Russian to parliament, taking this power away from any future president. In addition the amendments specifically refer to the Russian constitution and Russian law as taking precedence over international law, distancing Russia from the international community somewhat, making this suite of constitutional reforms much more complex than a simple power grab.

sputniknews.com/russia/202001201078087835-proposed-amendments-to-russias-constitution-big-changes-you-need-to-know-about youtube.com/watch?v=I-PffgaUTy8&t=344s

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Daniel Halliday
Mar 18
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DH edited this paragraph
This is actually seen as a positive move for Russian citizens by some, with the constitutional changes set to establish social security and minimum wage payments to bring people above the poverty line. The changes also seem to establish something similar to a supreme court, and will allow this court to preside over constitutional changes before they go to the president, again taking power away from the office of the president. Furthermore the amendments will give the power of appointing Prime Minister of Russian to parliament, taking this power away from any future president. In addition the amendments specifically refer to the Russian constitution and Russian law as taking precedence over international law, distancing Russia from the international community somewhat, making this suite of constitutional reforms much more complex than a simple power grab.

No, these reforms prevent future power grabs

This has been portrayed as a simple attempt for Putin to hold on to power but there is actually much more behind these constitutional changes, and it is not as extreme a government shake-up as the media were alluding to. The resignation of the prime minister and his cabinet is just a technicality and many of the ministers that were forced to resign will in fact be repositioned into new government roles, with many expected to retain there positions directly. The Russian economy has stagnated for 6 years and Putin has failed to reform the economy as he promised when he took power, but this stagnation has worsened under Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and Putin is now putting a technocrat, Mikhail Mishustin, in his place.

These constitutional reforms will however give parliament more powers, including the future power to elect the prime minister, while the President's powers would be curbed and handed to the Russian Parliament. Putin is getting ready to stand down and increasing oversight and curbing future potential to stay in power as long as he has, this should strengthen the Russian political process more than it undermines it. In addition, Russian voters seem to back this move, Putin remains popular in Russia but this government were losing popularity and were increasingly viewed as ineffective by the majority of Russians. Ultimately these constitutional provisions will be decided by Russian citizens in a referendum, this is not the first time something like this has occurred in the country, it's just unexpected; Putin keeps his cards close to his chest.

newsx.tv/2020/01/21/whats-behind-russias-political-shake-up youtube.com/watch?v=1pR9lFw2Jd8 rt.com/russia/483358-russia-constitution-change-vote youtube.com/watch?v=YwFfEqjx1Uw

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Daniel Halliday
Mar 18
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DH edited this paragraph
These constitutional reforms will however give parliament more powers, including the future power to elect the prime minister, while the President's powers would be curbed and handed to the Russian Parliament. Putin is getting ready to stand down and increasing oversight and curbing future potential to stay in power as long as he has, this should strengthen the Russian political process more than it undermines it. In addition, Russian voters seem to back this move, Putin remains popular in Russia but this government were losing popularity and were increasingly viewed as ineffective by the majority of Russians. Ultimately these constitutional provisions will be decided by Russian citizens in a referendum, this is not the first time something like this has occurred in the country, it's just unexpected; Putin keeps his cards close to his chest.
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