The Russians cast early votes on the ballot to extend Putin's rule



The Russians will go to the polls on Thursday to vote ahead of a nationwide vote on constitutional reforms that could see President Vladimir Putin stay in power until 2036.


Elections officials say elections are set to begin before the official July 1 vote to prevent congestion from spreading the coronavirus infection.

Masks and disinfectant gels are provided to 110 million voters in 10 time zones, from the Kaliningrad Exclave in the Baltic Sea to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the Pacific Ocean.

The Kremlin reluctantly voted on the severity of the COVID-19 infection and postponed voting on April 22, and authorities have imposed sanctions to slow the epidemic.

Putin introduced reforms to the 1993 constitution in January this year and was quickly adopted by both Houses of Parliament and regional legislators.

Although the referendum was not legally required, he insisted that the Russians vote on the change, arguing that the referendum would give them legitimacy.

- Putin 'for life' -

Opposition campaigner Alexei Navalny dismissed the vote as a popular conspiracy designed to give Putin the "president of life."

"This is a violation of the constitution," he said on social media earlier this month.

Among other changes, the reforms will reset Putin's presidency to zero, allowing him to walk and stay in the Kremlin twice by 2036.

According to current regulations, the current term of the 67-year-old Putin in the Kremlin ends in 2024.

Opposition propaganda against the reforms has taken a moment.

In April, rallies in the Russian capital were halted following a virus ban against public celebrations.

The Moscow court blocked a "no" website that collected Russian signatures in protest of the reforms, forcing it to move to another domain name.

Meanwhile, senior political officials have stressed the importance of giving Putin the chance to stay in power.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin called for reforms to "eliminate uncertainty if the country wants to guarantee stability."

The Russian leader said last week he would not decide whether to step down for a second term after 2024, but said he had the option of extending his tenure.

“Otherwise, within two years, I know that all eyes will be on potential successors, instead of working normally at all levels of the state,” he said. "We must work and not look for heirs."

With Moscow's bookstores already amending the constitution, Russia seems to be at an end.

This comes as Putin's historically low approval rating for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and the economy, including the most unpopular change in the pension policy.

- Traditional Values ​​-

In May, the independent voting group Levada found that Putin's approval rating was lower than 59 percent since April.

Upon resetting Putin's threshold, this reform would strengthen the president's powers by allowing top judges and prosecutors to nominate the upper house of parliament.

The reform also ensures economic changes that guarantee that the minimum wage does not fall below the minimum subsistence level, but that the state pension is adjusted annually for inflation.

Despite its long history as a secular nation, the Russians believe in God and have an effective ban on same-sex marriage.

These principles are at the heart of Putin's traditional and patriotic value system.

The Kremlin hopes they will resonate with voters and attract a large number of voters.

Ballots, posters, and hoardings throughout the city did not mention Putin or the section that allowed him to remain in power for more than a decade.

Instead the campaign kisses her grandmother with the slogan "Guaranteed Retirement" around a child-like social fantasy.

Another poster features a Russian family who "wants to protect family values."

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