Russia's lower house of parliament approved a change to the constitution that extends the term of the president from four to six years, CNN reports. The move is widely seen as a bureaucratic maneuver that will lead to the return of Vladimir Putin as president. The upper house of parliament is expected to follow suit and make the measure law.
Putin stepped down as president and became prime minister because the constitution prevented him from serving three straight terms. Dmitry Medvedev's term is scheduled to end in 2012, but this new amendment could set the stage for early elections. Putin would then be allowed to run again, with the possibility of gaining 12 years in office.