Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked his countrymen for their support and confidence after the referendum on the constitution.
He called for the amendments approved by the voters necessary and said that this would strengthen the political system.
Putin may participate in the elections two more times due to constitutional changes. That means he could stay in power until 2036. The president did not speak of that when he thanked voters on television.
The 67-year-old leader said that little time has passed since the fall of the Soviet Union. “We are still very vulnerable in many ways,” he noted.
According to Putin, Russia needs internal stability and time to “strengthen the country and its institutions.”
Putin also expressed sympathy for the voters who voted against the reforms. He recognized that many problems still need to be resolved. According to the election committee, the opponents were far outnumbered. About 78 percent of the voters would have voted for the changes.
There is international criticism of the referendum. A spokeswoman for the United States Department of State said it was alarming to report abuses, such as pressuring voters and opponents of the amendments.
The spokesperson stated that her country is particularly concerned that Putin could remain president until 2036. The US is fundamentally opposed to constitutional changes that allow incumbent leaders to stay in power longer.