Putin once told Russians he didn’t want to be the ‘eternal president.’ Now it appears he does.
Putin in January even recommended stricter presidential term limits and the transfer of more power to parliament.So his apparent shift Tuesday caught Russians off guard. The message now is that Putin could be in the Kremlin until he is in his 80s.
“We were convinced that Putin is going to leave in 2024, and finally we see that we all were wrong,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, a nonresident scholar at Carnegie Moscow Center and the head of R. Politik, a think tank. Now, she said, the constitutional process seems built to avoid being accused of simply appointing himself “the eternal president,” Stanovaya added.
“As we understand it now, there are two Putins,” Stanovaya said. “One Putin dreams about the very far future, where we will have a just and democratic system with a rotation of leaders.
“But if we’re talking about now, present-day Putin thinks about stability, about enemies abroad, crises,” she added. “And for him, it’s not a good moment to begin to live in this illusionary good world where we have a successor.”