One Big Thing: Do you think Putin will ever give up power?
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What is it?
- On June 25, Russians voted on a national referendum which would allow Vladimir Putin to remain President until 2036. This referendum has already been criticized for election tampering and compulsory voting.
- Despite the public vote, the constitutional changes have already been approved by the Russian parliament, thus making this sham referendum even less significant.
- Recently, Putin has also used the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to crackdown on civil liberties. Restrictive quarantine measures and underreporting of cases has led the narrative as the government has gone to all extremes to silence those speaking out.
Why it is important?
- Putin’s current term ends in 2024 but the changes would allow him extend his term 12 more years – more than any Russian leader since Joseph Stalin. His term has been marred by human rights abuses, invasive foreign policy and corrupt personal gain.
- In Putin’s Russia, human freedoms are nonexistent as the government censors all opposition parties, independent media and grassroots social movements. Many experts have called for the US government to use the Global Magnitsky Act to place sanctions specifically for human rights abuses.
- Despite this, Russians have recently staged pro-democracy protests following rigged elections last summer and fall.
What can you do?
- Check out a list of recommendations on Russia from the McCain Institute’s Human Rights and Democracy Working Group
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