06/26/2020, 09.31
RUSSIA
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After the Victory Parade, a vote for 'eternal Putin'

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Since yesterday voting for constitutional changes, at polling stations and online. The changes will allow Putin to remain in office until 2036, beating Stalin and Ivan the Terrible in terms of reign. Orthodox bishops urge the faithful to vote "for God and Putin", and "for the best leader in the history of our country". In the constitutional changes the insertion of the name of God is foreseen.

Moscow (AsiaNews) – A vote on proposed constitutional changes began yesterday after the big parade on June 24. The referendum was due to take place on April 22, but was delayed due to the quarantine for Covid-19. The new constitution will strengthen the Putinian regime in terms of length of office, institutional architecture and emphasis on the moral principles of the Russian national statute. A plebiscite was expected; now leaders hope for an average turnout, without however doubting the results.

Despite the organizers' efforts, the Victory parade took place in a lesser tone. Without exultant crowds, floats with weapons and trophies paraded in front of the stage with President Putin (although many suspect it was double) and a few representatives of ally nations, as well as a group of veterans.

A sturdy military corps was deployed on the square and in the surrounding streets. Fear of the pandemic kept the population away in Moscow, and in the few cities where a similar ceremony took place. The day was also marred by the coronavirus death of the Buddhist Grand Lama of the Tuva region, Jampel Lodoj (Sata Alysh-oola Shuurakainovich, photo 2), 44, who had been fighting the infection since June 10, when he was hospitalized in intensive care.

Many observers complained that the patriarch of Moscow Kirill (Gundjaev) was absent from the parade, but patriarchal spokesman Vladimir Legojda denied the news, confirming that "the patriarch attended the parade among the guests of honor, according to tradition, blessing the armed forces that need the assistance of the Church; as to why he didn't appear in the television footage, you have to ask whoever organized the broadcast ". In reality, the patriarch presented himself at the beginning of the procession in a secluded position, and then left almost immediately.

Kirill however immediately expressed his favor for the constitutional changes, voting online from his protected residence on the outskirts of Moscow. Voting is in fact possible both online and at polling stations, and the electoral commission ensures the technical impossibility of rigging.

In Dozhdja journalist Pavel Lobkov voted twice, once from home and once at the polling station, but it was made clear that "only online voting will be considered." In some polling stations, however, more voters were registered for online voting than was shown in the registry lists. The seats will be open every day until July 1st from 8.00 to 20.00, and online from 10.00 to 20.00.

The patriarch of Moscow explained that the proposed changes have "an overall vision of profound significance and important consequences for the spiritual and moral life of the people". He in particular praised the inclusion of God in the constitution, because it is "an absolute value, without which it is impossible to choose between good and evil". Furthermore, the new constitution establishes the "hereditary continuity of contemporary Russia with its history, we do not come from nowhere".

Several Russian bishops have openly invited to vote in favor of the changes "for God and for Putin", and "for the best leader in the history of our country", as stated by Bishop Pankratij (Zherdev), superior of the monastery of Valaam.

The new constitution provides for the "zeroing" of terms of offices, so Putin will be able to be re-elected in 2024 as for the first time for two consecutive terms; if he takes full advantage of this possibility he will remain in office until 2036, when he will be 84 years old, a longer period of "reign" than Stalin and placing himself on the same level as Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great, who ascended the throne as children.

A new article, n.92, also guarantees to the resigning president or at the end of his mandate total immunity from any form of civil or criminal procedure against him; Putin will then be able to withdraw when he wishes, perhaps retaining the position of president of the new "Federal Council" which will control the "armed forces", the special and military services.

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