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Putin Lived, Putin Lives, Putin Will Live

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he agrees with the provisions of Russia's Constitution barring a president from seeking a third consecutive term in office. Putin became Russia's president on January 31, 1999, winning elections in 2000 and 2004. In 2008, upon completion of his second term in office, Putin left the presidency and was appointed as Russia's prime minister by President Dmitry Medvedev. The Russian president was reelected for his second consecutive term as president in 2018, with the next presidential election scheduled to take place in March 2024.

In January 2020 Putin proposed election of the Prime Minister by the Duma. He would himself again shift over to being Prime Minister and can thus remain in office until he is carried out feet first. In the Soviet era it was said "Lenin Lived, Lenin Lives, Lenin Will Live", famous lines from a 1924 poem by Vladimir Mayakovsky. And now it may be said "Putin Lived, Putin Lives, Putin Will Live".

Russia seemed to face a succession crisis in 2024, when Russian constitutional terms limits say Putin will be ineligible to seek another consecutive term. Putin's mandate will not expire until 2024 but the problem needed immediate attention because the uncertainty about his long-term future is a source of instability in a fractious ruling elite that only he can keep in check.

"The Russian political scene is entering a new phase," Gleb Pavlovsky, a former Kremlin adviser who is now critical of the country's leadership, said in March 2018. "Most discussion within the ruling elite focuses not on the next stage of the Putin era but on what will constitute the post-Putin era." The elites are going to find the succession issue unacceptable, because whoever Putin's successor is, this successor would have to -- despite staying loyal to Putin -- reshuffle the elites in order to maintain power.

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