The idea that Vladimir Putin would quietly retire always seemed fanciful, given the grisly fate that often befalls ageing autocrats, ex-dictators and even supposedly elected presidents once they let go of absolute power.
In January, Russia’s president-in-perpetuity floated a range of possible constitutional “reforms” to help decide what happens in 2024 when his term in office expires.
This was, in theory, a public consultation. Maybe the Duma (parliament) should have more powers, Putin suggested. Perhaps the role of the prime minister, or the state council, should be enhanced?
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