Russia’s Constitutional Court recently ruled it was legal to change the nation’s constitution in a manner that could allow President Vladimir Putin to remain in power until 2036. Not coincidentally, this came just a week or so after Putin himself mused about staying on for a third term, stating: “There are precedents for elections for more than two terms, including in the United States. When a country is going through such upheavals and such difficulties—in our case we have not yet overcome all the problems since the USSR, this is also clear—stability may be more important and must be given priority.”
A petition denouncing the act as “politically and ethically unacceptable” garnered over 18,000 signatures almost immediately, with those of many prominent scientists, journalists, and writers among them. The petition avers that “the threat of a deep constitutional crisis and an unlawful anti-constitutional coup…is hanging over the country.” Ironically, this is the reverse of what has recently taken place in the United States, where a deeply entrenched and shadowy cabal of career bureaucrats joined forces with the Democratic Party in an attempt to take down a duly elected president, in part because the party couldn’t accept that it was voted out of the White House.
It is nonetheless amusing to hear Putin cite the U.S.-- and Franklin Delano Roosevelt-- in support of his quest to retain power. Perhaps Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin wants to be re-branded as “VVP,” in the way that Roosevelt was commonly known as “FDR.” Maybe he will start brandishing lengthy cigarette holders and giving reassuring “fireside chats” to Russians: “All we have to fear are queers themselves!”