What comes after President Putin

The eternal Putin : Russia's president could stay in office until 2036

After the adoption of the new constitution, the Russian President Vladimir Putin can continue to lead the nuclear and raw materials power with more powers for years to come.

In a referendum, the new Basic Law, with which the 67-year-old could rule until 2036, received huge approval, according to the election management in Moscow. After counting all ballot papers, there were around 77.9 percent “yes” - and around 21.27 percent “no” votes, as the election commission announced on Thursday morning. The turnout was given as 65 percent.

The first results were published, although the voting had not yet ended in all parts of the country. The head of the electoral commission, Ella Pamfilova, said there had been no violations that could affect the outcome.

On the other hand, independent election observers spoke of hundreds of violations of the electoral law during the seven-day vote that ended on Wednesday evening. 110.5 million people in the largest country in the world in terms of area were called to vote on the constitution initiated by Putin.

The new Basic Law promises numerous social benefits - such as an annual pension adjustment. The voters voted on a whole package of changes, including the guarantee that marriage would only be allowed between a man and a woman. Putin had stressed that same-sex marriages would not exist while he was in power.

According to the old constitution of 1993, Putin would not have been allowed to run for president again in 2024. However, his previous terms of office since 2000 have now been canceled in a separate passage.

"Swan song to the last remnants of democracy"

But the constitution is also likely to change political life in Russia. The member of the Council of Europe will no longer have to bow to international judgments. In future, the national interests of the raw material and nuclear power will always have priority. In the past few years, Russia had repeatedly been bothered by the criminal judgments of international courts.

Above all, however, for Russian citizens who complain against their state, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has so far been an important instance for justice. National patriotic forces in Russia in particular had repeatedly called for an end to "patronizing" by other courts and for the sometimes high fines not to be paid.

[If you want the latest news live on your mobile phone, we recommend our completely redesigned app, which you can download here for Apple and Android devices]

The chairman of the Bundestag committee for human rights and humanitarian aid, Gyde Jensen, spoke of a “swan song for the last remnants of democracy” in Russia. The FDP politician criticized Russia for turning away from constructive work on the international stage. "At the level of the Council of Europe, we must therefore also talk about withdrawing the voting rights of the Russian delegation," said Jensen. That happened once before after the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.

State propaganda also spread that the old 1993 constitution was dictated by the United States and Germany. According to experts, Putin is having the new Basic Law cement a national-conservative orientation of the country, which is today self-confident again on the world stage.

According to his own account, the Kremlin chief saw the end of liberalism in the West. Putin had also included in the Basic Law that marriage was only possible between a man and a woman. There will be no same-sex marriage as long as he is in office.

Putin became president for the first time in 2000. With the new constitution, his previous four terms of office will be set to zero. He can therefore run again in 2024 and then again in 2030. Under the old constitution, he should have left the Kremlin in 2024.

Election observers report violations of election secrecy

“Today we are determining the future of Russia. I voted for the economic and social development of our country, for the preservation of its history, traditions and values, ”said Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. Like Putin, he had waited until the last day of the seven-day vote to cast his vote. Neither Putin nor he wore - as actually prescribed in Moscow - mouth and nose protection against the corona virus. Election supervisor Ella Pamfilowa only criticized Mishustin, although he himself has already recovered from the virus.

According to the Interfax agency, the Ministry of the Interior reported more than 800 incidents during the vote. However, there are no violations that could affect the result. Independent election observers from the non-governmental organization Golos spoke of hundreds of violations. People were pressured to vote and voting secrecy was often not respected, it said. In addition, many people are said to have voted several times.

Putin's opponent Navalny is angry about early publication of results

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said it was outrageous that the electoral commission was already publishing its first results during the ongoing vote. "They want to show deliberately that they spit on the law," tweeted the opposition. "Your place is in the dock."

Criticism also came from Germany. "This constitutional amendment is not just a swan song for the last remnants of democracy in Russia," said the FDP member of the Bundestag Gyde Jensen. The constitution of the autocrat Putin is also "a very real threat and a pitch-black day for human rights activists, opposition activists and discriminated minorities," said the chairwoman of the committee for human rights and humanitarian aid.

The vote had started last Thursday. It was scheduled for several days so that there was enough time for people to organize their voting due to the corona pandemic.

The people in Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod were also allowed to vote on the Internet. In addition, employees of the election commission came to people's homes. As an incentive to come to the vote, there were competitions. The vote was originally scheduled for April 22nd. It was postponed because of the pandemic. (dpa)

Now new: We give you 4 weeks of Tagesspiegel Plus! To home page