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Russians hit the reset button for Putin, but questions of legitimacy linger over his long-term rule

June 30, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

A voter wearing a protective face mask casts a ballot at the polling station at Kazansky railway station in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Approval in the vote that concludes July 1 will allow Vladimir Putin to seek two more six-year terms after his present one ends in 2024, staying in power until 2036, when he???d be 83. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

On Wednesday, voters across Russia will have a chance to hit the reset button for Vladimir Putin: A national referendum will decide whether to approve a raft of constitutional amendments that will allow the Russian president to run for two more terms in office, potentially extending his tenure until 2036.

Moscow (CNN)On Wednesday, voters across Russia will have a chance to hit the reset button for Vladimir Putin: A national referendum will decide whether to approve a raft of constitutional amendments that will allow the Russian president to run for two more terms in office, potentially extending his tenure until 2036.

Back in March, Valentina Tereshkova, a Russian MP from the ruling United Russia party, called in a theatrically staged parliament session for a constitutional amendment that would allow Putin to run for president again after his current term ends in 2024.

State-run pollster VTsIOM on Monday released early results from exit polling that suggest Putin will win approval for the amendments: According to those results, around 76% of respondents at 800 polling stations around Russia said they supported the constitutional changes.

In a short video clip released Tuesday, Putin appears before a new monument to Soviet soldiers and urges Russians to vote for "stability, security, and prosperity," saying a new constitution means a future with good healthcare, education and an "effective government beholden to the public. " He makes no mention of the resetting of his term limits.

In an interview that aired on state television in the run-up to the vote, Putin said he had "not ruled out" running for another term if voters approve the constitutional amendments.

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