End of Putin? Shadowy new law hints at sudden departure for Russian leader

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The Russian President has accelerated a new law through parliament which would make him a senator for life when he leaves office. The unexpected draft bill introduced by Mr Putin would also guarantee legal immunity and state perks for the rest of his life. The 68-year-old is already the longest-serving leader in modern Russian history since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

According to Russian state-run TV station RT, formerly known as Russia Today, the new piece of legislation is the first stepping stone for a new leader to sworn into office.

The broadcaster describes the law as a “sign that the groundwork is being laid for an eventual transition of power in Russia”.

Mr Putin and any other former leader of Russia would be allowed to become a member of the Federation Council within three months of the end of their term.

The Federation Council is the equivalent of the House of Lords in the UK.

One Moscow source said: “This is Russia copying the outdated British system of life peers in the House of Lords.”

The dramatic proposals come just months after radical changes were made to the Russian constitution.

In July, the Russian people backed new legalisation which could result in Mr Putin serving another two terms in office.

For the past 20 years, Mr Putin has served as President for 16 of them and has been due to end his reign in 2024.

But new reforms now mean the former Russian KGB agent could be in power for another 16 years.

The constitution will allow Mr Putin’s term limit to be reset to zero in 2024 and permit him to seek a new six-year term in 2024, and again in 2030.

By the time of the 2036 election, the Russian President would be 83-years-old.

During the public vote over the summer, eight-in-ten Russians supported the move.

The Electoral Commission said 77.9 percent voted for the reform package and 21.3 percent against.

Prior to the vote, Mr Putin remained coy the prospect of seeking another term in the high office.

He said: “I do not rule out the possibility of running for office, if this comes up in the constitution. We’ll see.

“I have not decided anything for myself yet.”

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Mr Putin became Russian President in 2000 after succeeding Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin.

Four years later he won a second term but was barred from standing for a third successive term in 2008.

Instead, he went on to become Prime Minister in 2008 before making another successful run for the Presidency in 2012.

Mr Putin won a fourth term as President in 2018 after securing 76 percent of the vote.

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