[JURIST] Proposed amendments to the Russian Constitution [materials, in Russian] extending term limits for the president and members of parliament officially took effect Wednesday when the text of the updated constitution [text, in Russian] was published in the state newspaper Rossiikaya Gazeata [official website, in Russian]. Under Russian law, constitutional amendments take legal effect the day they are published in the newspaper. The amendments extending presidential terms from four to six years and terms for parliament members from four to five years were signed into law [JURIST report] by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev [official profile; JURIST news archive] in December.
Medvedev proposed the changes in his first state of the nation [text; JURIST report] address in November. Critics fear the extension of presidential terms is designed to afford a longer third term for former president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin [official website, in Russian; JURIST news archive] should Medvedev step aside. Kremlin officials contend the amendments will strengthen the political system.