Vladimir Putin is set to receive lifelong immunity from prosecution as Russian MPs back a controversial new constitutional amendment.
The Duma – Russian parliament’s lower house – has voted to grant all Presidents and their families lifelong immunity from prosecution following changes to the country’s constitution rolled out in July. The amendments also allow Putin, who has ruled Russia since 2000, to run for two more terms when his current one ends in 2024.
The only other living Russian President is Putin’s longtime ally and current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The new law will make it impossible for authorities to carry out searches or questioning of former Presidents unless they are suspected of treason or exceptional crimes. Although Mikhail Gorbachev is still alive, he was never formally President of the current Russian state so is not covered by this new law.
Longtime Putin critic Alexei Navalny, who recently survived a suspected assassination attempt, asked via Twitter why ‘does Putin need an immunity law now? Can’t dictators step down of their own free will?’
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