By Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak
ANKARA (AA) - After Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unexpected proposal for constitutional changes Wednesday, experts suggest Putin has further ambitions for ruling Russia after his term ends in 2024.
During his annual address to the Federal Assembly, consisting of the country's two legislative houses, Putin pledged constitutional changes and putting it to a general vote.
The government resigned after Putin proposed the changes and said he needed "to organize the work."
Putin accepted the resignations and asked Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to take a new role as the deputy head of the country's Security Council.
In response to Putin's call, Medvedev said it would be right for the government to resign "to let the president make all necessary decisions.”
The new system gives parliament, the State Duma, the right to choose the prime minister and the Cabinet. While currently, the prime minister is appointed by the president.
“Medvedev serving as prime minister and Putin serving as president have some constitutional limits,” Professor Oktay Tanrisever of the International Relations Department of the Middle East Technical University, told Anadolu Agency.
“But when he created a new system, this new system with a new time schedule, he can continue to rule Russia by accommodating different interests in a different institutional setting without really undermining his leadership in the country,” he said.
According to Tanrisever, Putin’s main aim is to maintain power alliances for a longer time with this proposed change.
Mesut Hakki Casin, professor of law at Yeditepe University, also suggested that Putin wants to continue his political legacy under a new Constitution.
“The proposed change suggested increasing the role and power of the prime minister. So, I think, Putin will continue as a prime minister while Medvedev takes up the presidential post after 2024,” said Casin.
Casin said the Russian public would approve these changes in a referendum because they want to continue with Putin in the future.
“Tensions with the West gave rise to a new Russian nationalism. I see that the tendency towards Putin is high especially among the youth,” he added.
- ‘Similar to the Soviet system’
Although Tanrisever and Casin see this move as Putin’s wish to continue his political influence in Russia, they see the position of prime minister differently.
Tanrisever said the prime minister in the new system will have a technical role rather than a political one.
“So, the Council of Ministers will deal with technical issues. The key decisions will be decided by the Security Council and the president,” said Tanrisever.
“I think the whole institutional setup looks like the Soviet system. In the Soviet system, the position of Prime Minister was not political. It was economic. Prime ministers were dealing with financial issues, economic development issues, but they had no security or political role in the system,” he added.
“The president will create this Security Council as the main politburo, and in this way, he will have a similar infrastructure as the Soviet system. And no one will think that prime minister has any political executive role.”
However, Tanrisever said Putin is not reviving the Soviet Union but rather bringing a system that once worked for Russia.
“It is more about de-politicization of Russian country. So, the Council of Ministers will deal with technical issues, the key decisions will be decided by the Security Council.”
- Criticism from the West
“I think his [Putin’s] intention is to create a framework which will enable Russia to integrate countries like Belarus and maybe some other potential countries into that system,” said Tanrisever adding although the West probably criticize Putin’s move deeming it “not good for the promotion of democracy in Russia,” the real criticism will come when Russia “decided to broaden this institutional framework to the neighboring countries.”
“This is the real risk. I think the countries should look at Russia’s attempts at reintegrating some of these post-Soviet countries into their system,” he said.