Russian President Vladimir Putin said he favors keeping term limits in place, arguing against a return to the Soviet-era practice of lifetime leaders.
Asked by a World War II veteran if he backed ending a ban on more than two presidential terms -- which would allow Putin to continue ruling after 2024, when he will be 71 -- the president said this would make it impossible to ensure an orderly transition of power.
“It would be very worrying to return to the situation in the mid-1980s, when heads of state stayed in power until the end of their days, one after another,” Putin said on a visit to St. Petersburg to mark the 77th anniversary of the lifting of the siege of Leningrad, according to the government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
Putin proposed sweeping changes to the Russian constitution on Wednesday that would limit the powers of his successor as president by giving more authority to Parliament and the State Council, an advisory body, potentially allowing him to keep control of the country in another role. He also put forward a plan to tighten term limits by barring more than two mandates in total rather than two consecutive terms as now. Putin used that loophole to return to the Kremlin in 2012 after serving four years as prime minister.
Under the Russian leader’s shake-up, he replaced his long-serving prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, who stood in for him as president from 2008-2012, with the little-known head of the tax service, Mikhail Mishustin.