Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved legislation allowing him to stay in power beyond 2024 due to global instability and threats against Russia, including the new coronavirus, the Kremlin said on Thursday.
During a rare and unscheduled appearance in parliament on Tuesday, Putin stunned both the general public and the establishment by agreeing to a last-minute proposal to reset his constitutional term-limit clock to zero.
This would allow him to run for president again after his fourth and last Kremlin term expires in 2024.
The bombshell announcement came even though Putin had previously ruled out bending the law to stay in power.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday that Putin had changed his mind due to a “totality” of factors, including the spread of the novel coronavirus, a possible global recession and regional conflicts.
“The situation around the world has become less stable,” Peskov told reporters.
He said the novel coronavirus “has quite serious consequences for the global economy already now and potentially may have more serious consequences for the global economy” in the future.
He also appeared to hit out at Western sanctions against Russia, saying they “run counter to international law”.
Putin unleashed a political storm in January when he suddenly proposed changes to the constitution and dismissed his loyal ally Dmitry Medvedev as prime minister.