President Putin through 2036? It's a very real possibility. In what the Guardian describes as "a series of choreographed political steps that took just over three hours" on Tuesday, Putin came before parliament and said he would back a proposed amendment to the constitution that had just been suggested by lawmaker and famed former Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, reports the AP. She suggested that Russia do away with its presidential two-term limit or "add a clause that after the revised constitution enters force, the incumbent president, just like any other citizen, has the right to seek the presidency." That would essentially cause Putin's term count to revert to zero from four and allow him to seek two more terms rather than step down in 2024 when his second sequential presidential term comes to a close.
In a 30-minute address, Putin "dropped the bombshell," per the AP, coming out in support of her reset idea, which the lower house quickly voted in favor of. He noted the constitutional court would have to give its blessing and a public vote will be held on the proposed amendments on April 22, but neither will likely prove an obstacle. The Guardian notes that he walked back a comment made in January that suggested his position on the topic would be the opposite: While speaking with a veteran, he spoke of the fear of returning to the 1980s, when leaders clung to power "until the end of their days." On Tuesday he said "it was an incorrect statement because during the Soviet Union there were no elections." Bloomberg notes he's maintained power longer than any Kremlin leader since Josef Stalin. (Read more Vladimir Putin stories.)