Vladimir Putin’s fourth term as president of Russia is set to end in 2024, and with it, his 20-year rule of the country. Or maybe not.
On Tuesday, Putin backed an effort to reset his term limit, allowing him to run for another six-year term in 2024 and again in 2030. If he remains in power until 2036, Putin will have served as president for 32 years.
The proposal allowing for Putin’s term limit to be reset was brought by Valentina Tereshkova, a lawmaker who suggested either doing away with term limits entirely or amending the Russian Constitution so Putin could run again. In an address to lawmakers at the state Duma, Putin said he doesn’t support removing term limits. As for whether he should be allowed to run again, he said Russia’s Constitutional Court should rule on the question. There’s little doubt it would defy him.
Financial Times Russia reporter Max Seddon tweeted that Putin’s deference to the court is a mirage, meant to make his power grab look a little less obvious.
Putin’s endorsement of the rule change comes just days after he said he would not “resort to some sort of power scheme to preserve my mandate.” His actions don’t match his words, though. For months, he’s been working to ensure constitutional changes to allow him to extend his rule.
The 67-year-old Putin first came to power in 2000. After serving two four-year terms, he stepped aside because the Constitution wouldn’t allow him a third consecutive term. But Putin didn’t go far, spending four years as prime minister under Dmitry Medvedev, who backed a third Putin term in 2012, but not before signing a law extending presidential terms to six years.