Russian agents have backed a draft law declaring former presidents protection from criminal prosecution; a suggested that is widely accepted will benefit Vladimir Putin.
The bill would mean leaders who were no longer in office and members of their family “cannot be taken to criminal or regulatory responsibility, as well as arrested, prevented, controlled to a search, investigation, or body search.”
“The ex-President’s protection extends to the living and office premises he owns, his vehicles, communications, reports and luggage belonging to him, to his correspondence,” it added.
The lower house passed the amendment in its first version, and there is little chance it will not be fully adopted, as President Putin’s backers dominate both houses.
After two further Duma readings, it will go to the Council of the Federation (upper house) and Putin himself to be accepted.
Immunity could only be waived if the past president is accused of “treason or another grave crime, and if these statements are supported by the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court and backed by two-thirds of the agents of the State Duma and the same number of senators of the Council of the Federation”.
The legislation forms part of constitutional reforms approved in a July referendum.
The amendments also allow Putin to run for two more major 6-year terms in office — his fourth term is set to end in 2024.
Some analysts said the draft law had reignited questions over the president’s future at the helm of Russian politics. Putin’s approval ratings nosedived in 2019 after remaining above 80% in the five times leading up to this.
Pension changes and a retirement age hike were secured as two of the key reasons behind the mounting dissatisfaction.
The war in Russia hit out against the July amendments saying Putin aimed to stay in office for life, a claim which the director denies.
— to wicnews.com