Russian presidents can join the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, for life upon their Kremlin’s departure.
That is stated in legislation signed by President Vladimir Putin, according to the Russian government site.
Presidents can appoint up to 30 of the 170 Federation Council members under the new legislation. They can also join that council themselves if they retire as head of state. Putin (68) does not have to plan his departure as president, because he can, in principle, be re-elected twice for six years.
News site The Moscow Times reports that presidents have three months to make use of the scheme upon their departure. It also relates retroactively to former president Dmitry Medvedev, an ally of Putin. He can claim a seat on the Federation Council at a time of his choice.
Putin has dominated Russian politics for more than twenty years. He was alternately president and prime minister, but always the de facto leader of Russia. He bypassed the limit on the number of consecutive terms a president may serve by becoming temporary prime minister.
There is much speculation about Putin’s political future. His current term of office ends in 2024. His ability to run two more elections and thus theoretically remain in power until 2036 results from constitutional changes approved in a referendum earlier this year.
Putin himself maintains that he has not yet decided whether he wants to participate in the elections again. The legislation is also on the way that would give former presidents legal immunity for life. That proposal has already been approved by the Staatsdoema, the lower house of parliament.