Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked citizens to participate in the referendum on constitutional reform, the mainstay of which will enable him to continue to govern the country until 2036. The poll that started a week ago ends on March 1st. July and occurs at a time when Russia is one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus, is going through a severe economic crisis and the president’s popularity has steadily declined over the weeks of the pandemic.
The referendum to amend the constitution and enable Putin to be re-elected in the 2024 elections – which is currently not possible – had to be held on April 22 and, given the popularity of a priori, was a mere process by the man who had been there since 2000 guides the designs of Russia, enjoyed among the citizens.
However, COVID-19 forced the postponement of the consultation, and although the spread initially seemed limited, it skyrocketed with Moscow as its main engine, and Russia was pushed into third place in the most penalized countries.
Given the situation and fears that a delay in voting until after the summer would affect participation and support to deal with the coronavirus crisis, Putin finally decided to call the referendum on July 1st.