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Putin signs constitutional changes that allow him to rule until 2036

Russia's President Vladimir Putin. (Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS/Abaca Press/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a controversial bill that opens the door for him to potentially remain in power until 2036.

The bill, which was recently approved by the lower and upper chambers of parliament, aligns the election laws with constitutional changes approved by voters last year.

One of the constitutional changes resets Putin’s term-limit clock to zero, allowing him to seek reelection when his current term expires in 2024, and again in 2030 if he wishes.

Under the current election laws, a president is forbidden from seeking a third consecutive six-year term. Putin is currently in his second consecutive six-year term.

The constitutional amendments were initiated in January 2020 by the 68-year-old Russian leader, who has been running the country as prime minister or president since late 1999.

The nationwide vote for the amendments held last summer sparked protests in Moscow that were dispersed by law enforcement.

According to the results of a poll by the independent Levada Center last month, 41 percent of Russians do not want Putin to stay in power after his current term expires in 2024.