Putin's anti-Russian sentiment has sparked changes in the constitution

The Russian opposition, which ridiculed this week's vote on the constitutional reforms of President Vladimir Putin, said that copies of the amended basic law were already for sale in Moscow workshops.    From liberal reformers to communists, Kremlin critics say the vote - which began last week and ended Wednesday - is a thin veil that will put 67-year-old Putin in power.


The Russian opposition, which ridiculed this week's vote on the constitutional reforms of President Vladimir Putin, said that copies of the amended basic law were already for sale in Moscow workshops.


From liberal reformers to communists, Kremlin critics say the vote - which began last week and ended Wednesday - is a thin veil that will put 67-year-old Putin in power.

But the opposition has not done much to actively fight for change, except to call for a boycott or a vote of "no".

Even Russia's top opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, who gathered thousands of people last summer to address voter fraud in Moscow, has shown little interest in reform.

Experts say the deep divisions and clever moves made by the Kremlin have prevented opponents of Putin's plans from becoming fierce.

"I think it's a major cause of problems - lack of resources, lack of new faces, enthusiasm, motivation and confidence," said Vitaly Schklyrov, a fellow and political consultant at Harvard University. Anti-Russia.

After announcing the reforms, Putin was "given a million opportunities to prove himself". But after several years of repression, Kremlin critics feel the controversy is over.

"Russian protest does not trust itself."

Putin proposed a constitutional amendment in January and then approved a last-minute addition to resetting the presidential cap to zero, possibly serving him two and six years after his mandate expired in 2024. Let's do this.

These include political changes such as strengthening the role of parliament and popular measures such as the need to adjust state pensions for inflation and effective restrictions on same-sex marriage.

Opinion polls show that the vast majority of Russians support social amendments but have little enthusiasm for political reform.

- 'Opposition to bonding' -

These amendments have already been approved by parliament, but Putin has called for a public vote in an attempt to expand their standard.

Initially scheduled for April 22, the ballot was postponed by the coronavirus epidemic, and analysts said the fast-paced schedule and subsequent rescheduled the opposition were not strong propaganda.

The Kremlin pulled the rug from underneath its rivals when it gave Russians the chance to vote on a whole package of "yes" or "no" changes rather than individual changes, said Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of analytics firm R Politic.

He said opposition to popular measures, such as improved pensions and minimum wages, would weaken Kremlin opponents.

"It's hard to argue against amendments in such a situation," she told AFP. "The opposition is committed."

Liberal Party Yablo urged Russians to stay away from "illegal, unconstitutional and fake votes".

The Communist Party is asking its supporters to vote "no" for the party with the Kremlin line's toes.

- 'Circus with Balloons' -

Navalny, a 44-year-old anti-corruption campaigner who has hosted major anti-Kremlin demonstrations in recent years, called the reforms a "constitutional coup" but did not forcibly oppose them.

He said the debate about whether it would be futile to participate in a referendum because lawmakers already supported the amendments and the vote would be a hoax.

He wrote in the Telegram, "We only have a circus with balloons."

While many opposition supporters are disappointed at not being able to provide a more decisive plan, some say the change will come sooner or later.

The 20-year-old Mikhail Zemin, who participated in an anti-government demonstration in Moscow last summer, suggested Putin's approval rating, which fell to 59 percent in April, the Levada Center survey said.

“The opposition is heading in the right direction,” Samin said. "Society is heading in the right direction."

Navalny said the Russians should be prepared for the regional elections in September and the parliamentary elections in 2021, rather than focusing on Putin's constitutional changes.

The Kremlin's candidates were defeated in last year's Moscow city election, with Navalny calling for a strategic vote to oppose Putin loyalists.

Analyst Stanovya said it was time for the Navy to conserve its strength for another fight.

"Now is not his time."

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