Russian Referendum on Constitutional Reforms, Lifting Putin Term Limits, Passes by Wide Margin

Voters approve 206 amendments to constitution

Russia’s Central Elections Commission says that with three quarters of precincts counted, a referendum on mass amendment of the Russian Constitution passed with 77% support from voters. This is a surprisingly wide margin, though it was expected to pass.

The referendum was the bulk passage of 206 amendments, including one which would allow President Vladimir Putin to run for reelection. Current term limits prevent him from holding office after 2024. The amendment will reset the limits, giving Putin two more 6 year terms to potentially have, up to 2036.

The Putin term limit amendment has led many to conclude this is a Putin referendum, though historians argue that it is mainly aimed at passing a “Russian constitution,” after previous revisions heavily borrowed from US and French ideas.

Other important amendments include a guaranteed minimum pension for retirees, the primacy of Russian law over international norms, and a declaration in belief in God as a core value of the Russian Federation. There is also a ban on same-sex marriages, and measures to empower the parliament.

Opposition figures are asserting voter irregularities, saying it was unrealistic that it passed so highly. They say pro-Putin companies pressured employees to support the referendum.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.