On December 22, 2008, Russia's Federation Council, the upper house of its parliament, gave final approval to amendments to the Russian Constitution extending presidential terms from four to six years and parliamentary terms from four to five years. Critics claimed the amendments, the first changes to the post-Soviet constitution since its creation in 1993, were designed to benefit Prime Minister Vladimir Putin when he takes an expected returns to the presidency. The changes were first proposed by President Dmitry Medvedev to the Federation Council in November 2008. The Council approved an early version of the amendments, followed by the Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament.
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