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Russia may get Vladimir Putin for life

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When the British then-Prime Minister David Cameron announced a referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union, he didn't have to do it. Cameron acted not out of constitutional necessity but under political pressure. He attached a simple yes-or-no vote to what was by no means a simple question — and, in doing so, plunged his country into a still ongoing political chaos.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a referendum to consult the Russian people on a radical constitutional reform, he didn't have to do it. Putin acted not out of constitutional necessity, but because he sensed political pressure. He attached a simple question — yes or no — to an extremely complex issue. Because constitutional questions are always and primarily questions of power — and they touch on things that bind a society at its core.

Like something in a movie

Before turning to his people, Putin had already obtained an answer to the power question in a scene like something out of a movie. For months, political advisors and experts in Moscow had been racking their brains as to how Putin could stay in power once his constitutionally limited term of office came to an end. Through new instruments of state? In a new unified state? Or in a new office of state? Scripts were circulated, scenarios debated. Then Valentina........

© Deutsche Welle