Russian leader is likely to choose a loyal successor who will ensure Putinism lives on.

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MOSCOW — The race to become the next Russian president has already begun.

The constitutional changes Vladimir Putin announced earlier this month raised more questions than they answered, but they suggest he will have to choose someone to replace him when his term in the presidency ends in 2024.

The proposed overhaul, now making its way through the Kremlin-loyal parliament, will bar Putin from remaining in power after 2024 and close the loophole that allowed him to return to the presidency after a brief stint as prime minister from 2008 to 2012.

But it has also been designed to make sure that, while Putin may one day go, Putinism will stay.

“Putinism is now the mainstream … [and] has the support of the population,” said Tatyana Stanovaya, an analyst with R.Politik and Carnegie Center Moscow.

In orchestrating his handover, Putin’s objective is straightforward, said Baunov: “The Russia he created should remain his Russia.”

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