Vladimar Putin’s plans to change Russia’s constitution seen as a power grab move

The revolution proposed by President Vladimir Putin may not be a bloody one, but it does portend the biggest shake-up in Russian politics since Boris Yeltsin sent tanks to shell Parliament in 1993 while his opponents were barricaded inside.

Putin’s grand plan to overall the country’s Constitution is still playing out, but it has all the marks of him using the constitutional makeover to drastically prolong his political grip on power.

During a speech in Moscow on Wednesday, Putin, 67, a former KGB officer, proposed changes to the Russian Constitution that would transfer power from the presidency to elsewhere in government, weakening his successor and apparently allowing him to step into a newly carved role outside the presidency once his fourth term ends in 2024.

For the West, it raises the prospect that Putin’s influence will continue — meddling in elections around the world, annexing neighbors’ land, and brutally cracking down on democratic opposition at home — for years to come.

“It is hard to see this as anything other than a ploy to remain in control beyond 2024,” said Valeriy Akimenko, a senior research associate at the Conflict Studies Research Centre, a research and consultancy group in England. “We simply don’t know the whole story — or the whole plan. Possibilities range from the tried and tested to the relatively novel.”





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