Russian lawmakers gave preliminary approval Thursday to a slew of constitutional changes that would affect the power of the parliament and the term of the president.
The approved changes come one week after President Vladimir Putin delivered his State of the Nation speech. In his speech, he expressed the importance of democracy and power of the Russian parliament. Additionally, Putin expressed a desire to implement changes to Russia’s constitution. The Duma, the lower level or Russia’s house of parliament, approved the changes, with the likelihood of passing sometime in February.
Although the proposed changes were presented as being for the purpose of strengthening the power of parliament and democracy, many fear that Putin’s true intention is to remain president beyond the end of his term, which would otherwise conclude in 2024.