Vladimir Putin took part in a plenary session of the State Duma on amendments to the Russian Federation Constitution.
State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin: Colleagues,
Let us get down to work. Mr President, the LDPR faction is the most active here. Colleagues, please register. Please turn on the registration mode. Please note that registration is on. Please show us the results of the registration. There are 428 deputies present and 22 are absent. We have a quorum.
I give the floor to President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Volodin, State Duma deputies,
Mr Speaker informed me about the discussion that took place here during the second reading of amendments to the Constitution.
Considering the fact that the discussion was of a fundamental nature and that it was my initiative, as you know, to have a broad discussion on the possible amendments to the main law of Russia, I found it necessary to speak out here, at the State Duma, without delay on the most important proposals voiced here today, and I informed the Speaker about this.
Colleagues, but I would like to begin by thanking the members of the working group, State Duma deputies and Federation Council members, who participated directly and very intensely in developing amendments to the Constitution.
Let me repeat, these amendments are long overdue; they are necessary and, I believe, will be useful for Russia, for society and for our people, because they are aimed at strengthening our sovereignty, our traditions and our values – the foundation of our life; at expanding and specifying social guarantees, which means fully developing the social character of our country, and, in general, creating conditions for the confident, progressive and evolutionary development of Russia in the long historical term.
I agree with the previous speakers: the world is indeed changing. And not just because of the rapid, explosive in fact, development of technology, but literally of all spheres of life. These changes are cardinal and, I would say, irreversible. We can see how difficult the situation in the global policy, security and the global economy is. We are also battling the coronavirus now, oil prices are fluctuating, together with the national currency exchange rate and stock exchanges.
However, I would like to use this floor to say I have absolute confidence that we will get over this, and do so with dignity. The economy will grow stronger, and the most important industries will become more prominent and competitive. But we must work, and work together, consolidating our efforts.
However, all this is creating additional risks for us or, as they say, challenges. At the same time, there are those who want to deter Russia and are ready to use any method for this, which we know and have pointed out more than once.
In fact, the policy of deterrence has been used for a long time now, as we well know, and those who are pursuing it have said so openly and without being embarrassed. They are waiting for us to make a mistake or to slip up, losing our bearings or, worse still, getting bogged down in internal dissent, which is sometimes fanned, fuelled and even financed from abroad. It is even possible to calculate exactly how much money is allocated for this. This is something you can calculate.
I know that Russia’s leading political forces have largely similar views on these matters. This was clearly indicated once again during my recent meeting with the leaders of the State Duma factions at the Kremlin, which began on March 5 and ended on March 6, as Mr Zyuganov pointed out after taking a look at his watch.
At the same time, it is obvious to everyone that, unfortunately, many things in the country have only been tacked together hastily, as people say, and that we remain vulnerable in many respects. I am referring to political stability, ethnic and religious accord, as well as economic and social development. This is why our work on the amendments has provoked a question, which is being discussed increasingly more actively, about the further forming of the supreme institute of state power in Russia, or more precisely, presidential power.
The President is the guarantor of the Constitution or, simply put, the guarantor of the country’s security, domestic stability and, as I said before, evolutionary development – I repeat, evolutionary development, because we have had enough revolutions. Russia has fulfilled its plan when it comes to revolutions.
By the way, I saw during my trips across the country that these questions worry our people no less than they do you, State Duma deputies. Their concern is understandable. I have no doubt that the day will come when the supreme, presidential power in Russia will not be so personified, if I may say so, that it will not be connected to a certain individual. But this is exactly how it was in our previous history, and we must take this into account.
I am fully aware of my responsibility to the people, and I see that the people, or at least the majority of our society are waiting for my personal assessments and decisions on key matters of the development of the Russian state, both now and after 2024.
Therefore, I will formulate my position in an abundantly clear, honest and straightforward manner, including my opinion on the specific proposals that have been made here and were generally raised during the discussion on amendments to the Constitution.
As regards the position of Alexander Karelin on the need for new early elections to the State Duma:
My point of view on this issue is known. If the citizens of Russia vote for the amendments to the Fundamental Law, including the transfer of some presidential powers to the State Duma and the Federation Council, such changes should enter into force immediately after the publication of the adopted amendments and, hence, the State Duma would receive its expanded powers there and then.
This raises the question, do the current members of the State Duma have the right to accept these new powers? I think the answer is certainly positive. Why? There are all the legitimate legal grounds for this. Of course, in the final count this is your decision. But if there is no consensus on this issue in parliament, and the Speaker told me there is none, I do not see the need for early elections to the State Duma.
Let me say again that if people go to the polls on April 22 and vote, they will reaffirm the new authority of the State Duma. The people, the only source of power, will have their say. So that is settled.
Let me repeat, this deals with substantial expansion of the parliament’s authority, and this is the road to closer work between the representative and executive branches of power. This, colleagues, is how I planned it. This will enhance their reciprocal responsibility for the results of their work or failure.
I believe such changes are justified and sufficient at the current stage of our social development. In effect, this is a major step forward in developing our democracy.
I would like to return to the issue that I mentioned at the beginning. We have indeed reached the line and before we cross this line we must, according to many participants of this discussion, make a decision on a fundamental and sensitive issue concerning the highest level of state authority, which is presidential power. I think and I strongly believe that a strong presidential vertical for our country, for Russia is absolutely necessary. And today’s economic situation, as I have just pointed out, and the situation in other spheres such as security is another reminder.
First of all, it is necessary for stability. Of course, there are other options, which we are well aware of, such as parliamentary government, which is widely common in the world. However, at the current stage of our development it is not suitable for us. Look at what is happening in the European countries with a traditional parliamentary democracy. Some of these countries cannot even form their governments for years, without any exaggeration. For Russia, this is absolutely impossible and completely unacceptable.
Now, for example, granting other bodies of power such as the Security Council or the State Council – which are all the more so not directly elected by the people – with certain serious powers of a presidential nature would be, in my opinion, wrong and unacceptable, even dangerous.
Firstly, it has nothing to do with democracy. Secondly, it will inevitably result in the division of society. I am certain that Mr Zhirinovsky, who came forward with this proposal as far as I am aware, having a lot of experience as a politician will agree with me. In Russia, it will inevitably result in the duality of power, a public divide, and will affect the fate of the country and the people in the most negative and perhaps tragic way. So let us not take this road.
There have been proposals and ideas to amend the Constitution to extend the term of the current President, your humble servant, to do so on condition people vote (if they do) for this amendment.
Yes, the national vote is to take place in April. But in this case, the authority of the President would be extended as a result of a clear-choice election. I think this is also wrong and should not be done. Russian citizens must have an alternative at any election, including the presidential election. All elections must be open and competitive.
Generally speaking, the proposals made by Valentina Tereshkova (we have deep respect for her, and I would like to congratulate you, Ms Tereshkova, on your recent birthday once again) are also understandable. The first is to remove from the Constitution the number of terms for which the country’s top official may be elected. A similar idea was voiced at my recent meeting with the public in St Petersburg. This is exactly what one veteran suggested. I said then that I did not wish to return to Soviet times. I will be straight, this remark was inappropriate because there were no elections in Soviet times. Everything was done behind the scenes, or as a result of some inter-party procedures or intrigues. There were no real elections then. Now the situation is very different. This is true. It is necessary to go and vote. This is a different situation.
Strictly speaking, it would technically be possible to cancel the restriction on the number of terms, all the more so since it does not exist in many other countries, including our neighbours. They have no restrictions on the number of presidential terms. Incidentally, the amendment to the Constitution that limits the number to two presidential terms only appeared overseas, in the United States, in 1947. It was only in 1951 that it was voted for and ratified by all states. 1951 is not that far off, just yesterday in terms of history, I will explain why.
Incidentally, there are precedents for elections for more than two terms, including in the United States. And why? Look: the Great Depression, huge economic problems, unemployment and poverty in the US at that time, and later on, World War II. 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. All the more so, let me repeat, when a country still has many problems.
But when the political, economic and social spheres gain internal stability and maturity, when the country becomes, undoubtedly more powerful and less vulnerable from the outside, then the possible alteration of power, of course, becomes more important. This is necessary for the development of the country. We do not adopt amendments for a year, or two years or even ten years, I hope; but for a longer historical term, at least 30–50 years. For this long term, society must have guarantees for the regular change of power. We should think about the generations to come. This is why I do not believe it is viable to delete the restriction on the number of presidential terms from the Constitution.
In fact, the second proposal means lifting restrictions against any person, any citizen, including the current president, from taking part in an election in the future. In the course of transparent and competitive elections, naturally. And, naturally, only if Russian citizens support this proposal, this amendment, and say “yes” during the general vote on April 22.
In fact, this amendment will only be possible under one condition: if the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation provides an official ruling that this amendment does not contradict the principles and the main provisions of the Constitution.
Let us not forget, we are not adopting a new Constitution but only important amendments, which are still separate amendments. Let me stress once again that I do not believe it viable to change the Constitution in general, because it still has a lot of potential – on the contrary, it has proven its effectiveness – even to solve the issue of presidential power. This is why I am repeating this: if the Federal Assembly adopts the law on amendments to the Constitution as it is now, it must be sent to the Russian Federation Constitutional Court for an assessment and an official ruling.
And, to conclude my speech, I would like to once again thank the State Duma deputies and the Federation Council members for their active and substantive work on the amendments to the Constitution. I would like to sincerely thank the Russian people for their support. I have felt it over the years. It would have been difficult and even impossible to do anything without this support, especially during the most difficult time at the beginning of the 2000s.
I know that we have not managed to do everything we planned. I understand the criticism I hear, including that related to a number of difficult decisions. But I would like to assure you that I have and always will go by the current and long-term interests of Russia in my work. And exceptionally by the will of our people. By the way, this is why I have proposed holding a general vote for our people to decide on these amendments to the Constitution.
And, to our people, I would like to say: it will be as you vote on April 22, my friends. You and I, against all odds, have done a lot to make our country stronger. I am sure that together we will do many more good things, at least before 2024. Then we will see.
A sure sign of a good man is that what he says is true. That is a good man.
And so, if the People want and vote, the Amendments will affix to the Constitution, and the democracy will grow more responsive through the Duma. The Executive will be balanced with increased Legislative powers.
All these ideas are the Products of Putin’s years in power. He sees the weakness of Autocratic powers he presently possesses. He is preparing the country for much more economic and social development. The greatest strength of any nation is a stable, prosperous citizenry (the source of power, as Putin says) who are governed by a responsive leadership. Putins sees Russia needing a better, more effective legislature. The changes via Amendments aim for that evolution.
As for his continuation in the role of President, he wants the People to decide.
Such an amendment to allow him to run for office again in 2024 should be decided as legal by the Constitutional Court, also.
Quite amazing evolution in Russian Constitutional Law.
So far, it looks like all of Putin’s recommendations for Amendments has been approved by the Duma.
The People will vote their consent and approval on April 22.
This couldn’t be more timely, especially given several of Mr. Putin’s key comments as you have mentioned. The power is with the citizens. And while there is a proposal to remove term limits for the President Mr. Putin said himself “We should think about the generations to come. This is why I do not believe it is viable to delete the restriction on the number of presidential terms from the Constitution.” He then said that it would be up to the people to decide and even then, like all other amendments, it would have to be approved by the constitutional court.
I say this article is timely because last evening I was scanning facebook (which I don’t like much) and there was yet another article posted by a Roman Catholic outfit claiming Putin has passed a law extending his term. The writer, a Polish Latin Pope lover lies and degrades Russia in everything he writes, so it is good to have some hard facts to throw in his lying face.
“so it is good to have some hard facts to throw in his lying face.”
Likewise. I have also been getting the “What do you think about Putin extending his power” queries and put downs.
Now I have some facts to answer these questions.
Thank you Saker !
First I must say that this is good, not only for Russia, but for the world.
TASS reported that the Lower House had already lifted the restrictions on presidential terms.
So no, the they do not chose to amend this, extending the terms of a serving president. Instead there are to be no restrictions on any citizen including the president for running for office again. I was not familiar with these fine points, this was confusing. It seems the same thing happens with the second proposal. Very good.
how does the protection of Jews fit in these new constitutional amendments?
a lotof people appear to fear that domehow Jews will be somehow protected from legitimtae criticism by the new changes. will they be
Somewhere in this wording, Jews will have to find their special status (a figment of their imagination):
“Culture in the Russian Federation is a unique heritage of its multinational people. Culture is supported and protected by the state.”
“The state protects the cultural identity of all peoples and ethnic communities of the Russian Federation, guarantees the preservation of ethno-cultural and linguistic diversity.”
“The Russian Federation provides support to compatriots living abroad to exercise their rights, protect their interests and the preservation of Russian cultural identity.”
Since no group gets special mention, they don’t get special protection from legitimate criticism.
The future may bring an attempt for legislation. They are doing this in many European nations and trying to in the US.
I don’t see it in the near-term.
“Lashing Poland’s envoy to Nazi Germany in 1939 as a ‘bastard, anti-Semitic pig,’ Russian leader slams East European states that equate Soviet occupation with Nazi crimes”
These guys are all the same.
Russia is under attack. It is a wartime situation. Not like WW2, with armies clashing, it is the new type of war initiated by the zionazi full spectrum dominance strategy. Total war in every oportunistic aspect. Cant send in the tanks? Send in “make friends and influence people” regime change “warriors”. Etc. The USSR was under a similar “full spectrum dominance” attack, only cruder, more primitive. From basically the same far right capitalist freakshow.
Wartime requires clear, concise thinking and policy construction. One can relax and screw around after the attacker is neutralised. Do so before and…
So, Putin stays till 2030.
I knew that this would happen.
Russia needs him for one more presidential term
And till 2036 … I do not know, he would be 84 then
Maybe little bit too much
We will see anyway, it is too early to make any conclusions
And what has that to do with you?You don’t complain about GB and US having only two parties!It is because they invented democracy and have a label on it!
How dare Russia refuse to heel is the refrain from the hegemon!
Well there are few nations in the world who have a moral compass and a backbone to stand up to oppression. Russia is such a country.
Mr Putin, please carry on the way you’ve done over the last two decades.
Great speech by Mr Putin! He would be chosen by people anywhere in the world, if they had the choice. Russians can have this choice if they want it, and they will.
If they had the choice they’d vote for the reinstatement of the USSR since they voted against its dissolution.
You must know more than Mr. Putin. He said in this speech that there was no vote under the Soviet system. Everything was decided in backroom talks behind the scenes.
The U.S.S.R. is gone and isn’t coming back to Russia. It may have relocated across the pond to the great hegemon.
2. Turn on the ballot for secret voting the following wording of the question put to referendum, and the answers of voting: “Do you consider it necessary to preserve the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as a renewed federation of equal sovereign republics, which will fully guarantee the rights and freedoms of all nationalities.” “Yes or no”.
56,860,783 73.00% 21,030,753 27.00%
”Great speech by Mr Putin! He would be chosen by people anywhere in the world”
Great speech, absolutely! But do keep in mind that there are countries and peoples that are, ahem, intellectually challenged to such an extent that Putin’s formidable wit only elicits total disgust, LOL.
Wow, clarity, wisdom, a great sense of practical requirements, vision, teaching, and humble acceptance of ‘the people’s will’. We do not let Putin go, we need to clone Putin.
Putin is independent-minded leader of the moment, the quality leadership in the world, made more so by the quality vaccum represented by the rest of that leadership..especially the ‘developed’ countries. I mean Macron, Trump, Johnson et al. Pheeeeeew!
but I will not be dependent on, and wishful for any leader to the extent I see for Putin here. I would be keen on expanding democracy, expanding it exponentially if I could, the part of leadership in the hands of the popularity and what they can do with in their collective interest.
this will last longer than leaders and be more useful to the people..more important than individual leaders no matter how great.
it is harder to turn back successful popular control in practise, working, producing the goods… and expansionary – the constant development of the popular capacity to do the work at hand…the work of leadership, self organizing, collective, exective and effective at the same time
no one great leader is the idea..you may or may not have one. the success of the people, in on-going example would always be the resource available to the people, particularly in times of crisis. self help..we can, will do it ourslves..!
How badly the west has misunderstood Russia and Putin is sad beyond my understanding At the very least Russia with Putin at the service of Russia and indeed with the whole of humanity in mind has thoroughly exonerated itself in the eyes of history Well done