Putin’s power grab: President signed law to allow him to stay in power until 2036

Putin believes some areas 'will survive' nuclear war says analyst

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Moscow has this afternoon set out its demands to end the conflict in Ukraine as fresh talks continue on the Belarusian border. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Reuters news agency that Russia is prepared to put a stop to military action “in a moment” if Kyiv meets its conditions. The demands include ceasing all military action, changing the constitution to enshrine neutrality, acknowledging Crimea as Russian territory and recognising Luhansk and Donetsk as independent.

The development comes after Ukraine blasted Russia’s offer of humanitarian corridors to Russia or Belarus as “completely immoral”.

Putin’s latest offer, and continued invasion, has seen people turn against him in droves — including much of his own population.

No other individual has ruled Russia for longer than its incumbent leader since Joseph Stalin’s reign ended almost 80 years ago.

Two years ago, the Duma — Russia’s parliament — approved constitutional changes that limit Russian citizens to two presidential terms in their lifetime.

This outlaws the kind of shuffling between the presidency and role of prime minister that Putin employed earlier in his career.

However, the law specifically does not count terms served until it entered into force, meaning that Putin’s four terms (including the currency term) do not count and he is allowed two further terms.

Before this law was passed, Putin was due to leave at the end of his current term, in 2024.

As Russian presidential terms are six years long, this adds a possible further 12 years onto Putin’s already elongated leadership.

According to The Guardian, Russians say he has “zeroed out” his previous terms.

If Putin is successfully elected again, he will surpass Stalin to become Russia’s longest-serving leader after Peter the Great, who ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from May 1682 until his death in 1725.

The new law also gives Putin and former President Dmitry Medvedev lifetime immunity from prosecution, particularly pertinent at the moment given he is being accused of abhorrent war crimes.

With legislation in place that would allow Putin to surpass Stalin’s lengthy reign, a number of striking similarities have been made between the two.

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Both became Russian President in their mid-forties, with Putin becoming President in 2000 at the age of 47, while Stalin succeeded Vladimir Lenin in 1924 when he was 45.

They both pledged to bring stability upon being placed in charge.

Stalin made his promise after Russia emerged from a civil war in 1921 as the newly formed Soviet Union.

Putin, meanwhile, issued a similar promise upon becoming President for the first time in 2000, after Moscow had faced financial difficulties in the wake of the collapse of the USSR.

The pair both stressed the importance of Russia having a “strong hand”, both to prevent internal disorder and to protect against external aggression.

Putin and Stalin both had a particular dislike for their political opponents, and forged political systems that prevented any challenge to their political authority.

Alexei Navlany was arrested immediately after returning to Russia from Berlin in January last year.

One of Putin’s firecest public critics, he has remained in prison ever since.

Likewise, former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal was poisoned with Novichok — a Russian weapons-grade toxin — in England in 2018.

Then-Prime Minister Theresa May said Russia was responsible for the poisoning, which killed a British woman, but Putin denied all links to the attacks.

When Stalin was in office, he orchestrated the Great Purge — a series of political persecution campaigns that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Finally, both Putin and Stalin put Russia’s long-term security above everything else, and advocated using military force if necessary to ensure Russian sovereignty.

Stalin assumed great territorial gains for the USSR at the end of World War 2, while Putin annexed Crimea in 2014 before launching his invasion of Ukraine last month.

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