Wednesday, May 25

Putin signs a law allowing him two more terms as Russia’s leader

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law Monday allowing him to stay in power until 2036, a measure that formalizes constitutional changes backed in a vote last year.

The July 1 constitutional vote included a provision that restored Putin’s previous term limits, allowing him to run for president two more times. The change was approved by the Kremlin-controlled legislature and the relevant law signed by Putin was published on Monday on an official legal information portal.

The 68-year-old Russian president, who has been in power for more than two decades, longer than any other Kremlin leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, said he would decide later whether to run again in 2024 when his current six-year term years. ends.

He has argued that it was necessary to reset the term count to keep his lieutenants focused on their work rather than “looking for possible successors.”

Constitutional vote criticized for ‘irregularities’

The constitutional amendments also emphasized the primacy of Russian law over international norms, prohibited same-sex marriages, and mentioned “faith in God” as a core value. Almost 78% of voters approved the constitutional amendments during the week-long vote that ended on July 1. The turnout was 68%.

Following the vote, Russian lawmakers have methodically amended the national legislation, passing the relevant laws.

The opposition criticized the constitutional vote, arguing that it was marred by widespread reports of pressure on voters and other irregularities, as well as a lack of transparency and obstacles that hamper independent monitoring.

In the months since the vote, Russia has jailed the country’s most prominent opposition figure, Alexei Navalny.

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Navalny continues on hunger strike

Navalny, 44, was arrested in January upon his return from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from nerve agent poisoning that he attributes to the Kremlin. The Russian authorities have rejected the accusation.

In February, Navalny was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for violating the terms of his probation while convalescing in Germany. The ruling stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that Navalny has rejected as fabricated and that the European Court of Human Rights has ruled illegal.

His team says Navalny had lost a substantial amount of weight even before going on a hunger strike on Wednesday to protest the failure of authorities to provide adequate treatment for his back and leg pain.

Navalny complained about the refusal of prison officials to give him the proper medications and allow his doctor to visit him. He also protested the hourly checks a guard runs at night, saying they amount to sleep deprivation.

In an Instagram post on Monday, Navalny said that three of the 15 people in his room at the penal colony were diagnosed with tuberculosis. He noted that he had a strong cough and a fever of 38.1 degrees Celsius (100.6 Fahrenheit).

Later on Monday, the Izvestia newspaper published a statement from the state prison service in which it said that Navalny was transferred to the prison colony’s health unit after a check-up found him with “signs of a respiratory illness, including a high fever. “.

On a scathing note, Navalny said he and other inmates studied an advisory on tuberculosis prevention that stressed the importance of strengthening immunity with a balanced diet, advice that contrasted with a prison ration of “glue-like porridge and frozen potatoes. “.

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