Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday proposed sweeping reforms to the country’s constitution under the veneer of strengthening democracy, but his critics say the proposals suggest an ulterior motive to maintain his grip on power well past the end of his term in 2024.
The Russian leader proposed amendments to the constitution in Wednesday’s state of the nation address. Hours later, he fired Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and named Mikhail Mishustin, a tax chief and career bureaucrat, to succeed him.
Putin’s proposed constitutional reforms indicated he was working to carve out a new governing position for himself after his current term, but it remains unclear what specific path he will take.
Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, tweeted that Putin’s proposals reflected the 67-year-old president’s intention to “rule until he dies.”