Law of the Week: Putin signs decree introducing constitutional amendments from 4 July

Week-ending 3 July 2020

Putin Signs Decree On Constitutional Amendments, Changes Take Effect July 4

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree that will bring into force a sweeping package of constitutional amendments that among other things open a path for him to stay in power until 2036, if he chooses to take part in two more presidential elections. According to the decree, signed on July 3, the amendments will take effect on July 4. “The citizens of Russia have made their choice, and in accordance with this decision, I have signed a decree to officially publish the constitution to include the amendments,” Putin said during a televised meeting with officials. RFE/RL, 3 July 2020

See also:

Russia’s forced referendum

Over the past month, the Kremlin’s proposed constitutional referendum has dominated the political agenda in Russia. The proposed changes, among other points, would allow President Vladimir Putin to stay in power past his current term. After Putin announced that the vote, previously set for April, would take place on 1 July, regional authorities began removing quarantine restrictions. It seems they’re not compatible with celebrations for the new edition of the constitution. Miraculously, the official statistics for coronavirus infections began to improve simultaneously, provoking concerns over falsification and tampering from some experts. Regardless, the coming plebiscite has won over public discussion and even taken over from the pandemic. The referendum is widely discussed online. More than 80% of Russian citizens knew about the vote two weeks in advance, polls say. OpenDemocracy, 27 June 2020

Russian Election Commission: Turnout Passes 28 Percent On Third Day Of Constitutional-Amendments Vote

Russia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) says overall turnout was nearly 28.5 percent on the third day of a weeklong vote for constitutional amendments that could pave the way for an extension of President Vladimir Putin’s rule by 12 years. Almost 31 million people have cast ballots, including remote online voting, CEC chairwoman Ella Pamfilova said on June 28. Pamfilova also said that the CEC has received 113 complaints of irregularities. Some 110.5 million people are eligible to cast ballots in the nationwide vote, which ends on July 1. RFE/RL, 28 June 2020

‘A Historic Crime’: Russian State TV Anchor Quits Over Promotion Of Draft Constitutional Amendments

A state television journalist and news moderator in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk has resigned, saying that he could no longer “participate in the madness” of promoting the proposed constitutional amendments that, among other things, could enable Russian President Vladimir Putin to remain in office until 2036. RFE/RL, 29 June 2020

Court refusals to follow Constitutional Court opinion prevent consolidation of Constitution primacy

ST. PETERSBURG, June 29 (RAPSI, Mikhail Telekhov) – Refusals on the part of general jurisdiction courts to follow opinions of Russia’s Constitutional Court or administer differently interpreted law are to be considered as noncompliance with the Court’s decisions, what prevents consolidation of Russia’s Constitution primacy and violates the right to judicial protection, according to a recent Constitutional Court’s judgment. RAPSI, 29 June 2020

Russia’s Presidential Council denies reports of voting violations

Nearly all of the reports of electoral violations collected by the voter protection movement “Golos” during the plebiscite on constitutional amendments are false, says Alexander Brod, a member of Russia’s Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights and co-chair of the association “Civil Control.” “Our observers, experts, and human rights defenders state that 92 percent of the reported complaints constitute fake information,” Brod said. The Golos movement’s preliminary report on the early voting period (June 25–June 30) states that as of 1:00 p.m., Moscow time, on June 30, they had received 1,587 reports, of which 682 contained evidence of voting violations. Brod insisted that “going by Golos’s logic and their style of work,” one can assume that the number of complaints about violations could reach 5,000. Meduza, 30 June 2020

Journalists uncover potential voter coercion among Moscow subway workers

The leaders of the Moscow Metro’s trade union are allegedly forcing subway workers to vote in Russia’s constitutional plebiscite, reports the BBC Russian Service.  This was revealed by BBC correspondent Pyotr Kozlov, who was accidentally added to an internal group chat for the Moscow subway’s trade union, after he was given an MTS brand SIM card at work in 2018. The corresponding phone number previously belonged to the head of the primary trade union organization for Moscow’s Sviblovo metro depot. Meduza, 30 June 2020

Apparent Ballot Stuffer Is Caught Red-Handed (And Blue-Gloved) At Russian Polling Station

An election observer declared that “all is very good” when it came to voting at polling station No. 568 in the Russian city of Saransk, with everything well-organized and no violations seen. But eagle-eyed viewers of Mordovian Public Television noticed something amiss while watching the state channel’s coverage of the nationwide vote on constitutional amendments that open the door to President Vladimir Putin remaining in office until 2036. Ten seconds into a clip of the June 29 news segment posted on the VK page Saransk Wall Of Shame, and just as a correspondent’s voice-over talks about the fairness of the process, a blue-gloved hand is seen stuffing multiple ballots into a sealed ballot box. RFE/RL, 1 July 2020

Crimean Tatar political prisoners punished for refusing to take part in Russia’s ’forever Putin referendum’

Several Crimean Tatar prisoners and their cellmates have been threatened and punished because they refused to take part in the pseudo ‘referendum’ on amendments to Russia’s Constitution.  The amendments are aimed both at enabling Vladimir Putin to be President for another 10 years and, theoretically, at preventing moves to return Crimea which Russia is illegally occupying.  Nobody is in any doubt as to ‘the result’, which can be easily rigged.  The only difficulty lies in obtaining frequency broadly commensurate with the fiddled results. Over recent days there have been the familiar reports of public sector and educational workers, and others, being forced to vote on threat of dismissal, with others also bribed or threatened “with difficulties” if they don’t take part. Human Rights in Ukraine, 1 July 2020

European politicians to legitimize constitutional changes in Russia

Kremlin-friendly foreign politicians, journalists, lobbyists, and activists have once again been invited to praise the disputed “all-Russian voting” on the constitutional amendments proposed by President Vladimir Putin. According to those amendments, Putin will be allowed to run for another two terms and to stay in power until 2036. EPDE, 2 July 2020

Critics say Russian vote that could allow Putin to rule until 2036 was rigged

The Kremlin and its supporters have won a controversial vote to amend the constitution and reset Vladimir Putin’s term limits, potentially allowing him to rule as president until 2036Critics have challenged the result, saying that the voting was rigged to produce a blow-out win. The ad hoc vote, which did not fulfil legal criteria to be classed as a referendum, saw 77.92% of voters endorse constitutional amendments, with 21.26% against the changes, after all the ballots were counted. Turnout was nearly 68%, the election commission said. The Guardian, 2 July 2020

Election Monitors Find ‘Unprecedented’ Levels Of Fraud In Russian Vote On Extending Putin’s Rule

MOSCOW — The day President Vladimir Putin declared victory in a vote on constitutional changes that pave the way for him to rule Russia until 2036, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov called it a “triumphal referendum on confidence” in the former KGB officer, who has already spent over two decades in power. Official results of the weeklong vote that ended July 1 showed that 77.92 percent of Russian voters endorsed the constitutional changes, with only 21.26 against. Turnout was 68 percent, the Central Election Commission said. […] Claims of fraud quickly began mounting. The most damning came from Sergei Shpilkin, a prominent electoral researcher who uses data from Russia’s Central Election Commission during voting cycles to plot tallies reported at polling stations throughout the country and detect evidence of inflated turnout. During the presidential election of 2018, which Putin won handily, Shpilkin saw that the data showed numerous polling stations reporting turnout percentages ending in 0 or 5, suggesting, per his widely cited analysis, that almost 10 million votes were falsified at the ballot box. This time, Shpilkin said, that figure was an “unprecedented” 22.4 million. RFE/RL, 3 July 2020

Leave a Reply