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Archive | February, 2020

Constitution Changes in Russia explained

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent announcement of sweeping changes to the country’s constitution has led to much speculation about what it means. Western press seems split on whether it means Putin will be leaving office at the end of his term or is he planning to expand his role in the future?

Anya Parampil
Anya Parampil

Red Lines host Anya Parampil interviews international affairs analyst Mark Sleboda to examine the changes proposed and how they will affect Russian government and ultimately how it will affect European and American interests.

A whole new system of checks and balances.”

Mark Sleboda

Sleboda, speaking from Moscow, provides a clear analysis of the surprising constitutional proposals in plain English with details on international media’s response to the news, as well as the reaction of the Russian public.

Please watch the video below for a far-ranging discussion with lots of good take-aways.

This detailed discourse is well worth the time. Near the end of the video Anya also asks Sleboda about his work with Russian political philosopher Aleksander Dugin.

Among the most notable effects of the proposals are that the office of President would be limited to two terms and no one would be able to sit out a term and run again as Putin did. A concrete indication that Putin intends to leave office at the end of his term in 2024.

Anya Parampil interviews analyst Mark Sleboda

The constitutional changes will be voted on by the public in the future and have already passed a test in the Duma (lower house) on January 26, 2020. There are opposition critics in Russia and abroad, but the Kremlin’s main critic, Alexei Navalny, who would not be eligible to run under the new rules for President which require no dual citizenship or official residency in a foreign country is not one of them. The purpose to limit foreign influence.

Also, one amendment would ban any person from serving as president of the Russian Federation for more than two terms as Putin did under the current constitution. And it sets six years as the length of one presidential term.

The Federation Council, the upper house of Russian parliament will be given few additional responsibilities. It would have the right to consult with the president about the appointment of leaders to various branches of the executive, including the heads of security services, and the right to consult about the appointment of federal prosecutors.

There is a good chance the State Council, the cabinet around the president, could be elevated in importance with a general mandate and responsibility in state administration, foreign policy, social questions, and economics to be defined in detail in future laws.

The proposal also introduces a minimum wage and an index of pensions connected to inflation. This has been a demand by the public to address economic stability for the populace.

A national election on the constitutional changes could come as soon as April 2020. If the end result is broadening the mantle for Russian governance and better definition of responsibilities it bodes a positive democratic change.

Red Lines host Anya Parampil appears regularly on The Gray Zone. She is a journalist based in Washington, DC. She has produced and reported several documentaries, including on-the-ground reports from the Korean peninsula, Palestine, Venezuela, and Honduras.

International affairs analyst Mark Sleboda, IR & Security Analyst, Senior Lecturer in IR & Security Studies MGU 2012-14, LSE postgrad, Climate Change, US Navy vet-Nuclear Engineering

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