Vladimir Putin’s Power Grab

Vladimir Putin served two terms as President of Russia from 2000 until 2008.  Then, he assumed the office of Prime Minister in 2008, after allegedly engineering the election of Dmitry Medvedev to replace him as President.  Mr. Putin will begin a third term as President which begins on May 7.  Many critics of Mr. Putin believe that the December 2011 election was rigged and full of fraud.

Mr. Putin has indicated his support for Presidential term limits, insisting that a President should be able to serve for no longer than two terms.  He made those remarks during a session at Russia’s parliament, the Duma.  However, critics believe it is a false attempt to quash complaints regarding his power grab.  The key point is that the law would not apply to him because it is not retroactive.  Therefore, Mr. Putin could run for unlimited terms as President of Russia.  Mr. Putin has already extended the Presidential term from four years to six.  Critics also consider that to be a major grab at power.

Critics abroad insist that Russian policies regarding corruption stifle foreign investment.  Basically, there is a lack of confidence in the Russian economy because of the corruption.  Putin and Medvedev promised increased transparency and a decline of corruption within the government.  They have also promised increased government benefits in an effort to placate dissent.  But, efforts to increase pay of teachers and military persons will be difficult if the price of oil declines.  Thus, it may be hard to buy silence.  Either way, it is clear that Mr. Putin is not going away anytime soon.

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