On March 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with faction leaders of the State Duma. At this meeting, he said that “new attempts to build the country” are unacceptable, and the country’s Constitution should give “guarantees of the impossibility of a rollback”. The faction leaders showed the due loyalty and discussed with Putin punishment options for violations during voting on the Constitutional amendments.
The President expressed gratitude to the parliamentary parties for the constructive work on the Constitutional amendments. Before the second reading of the amendments in the Russian Parliament, the President asked faction leaders to support the bill. The first reading took place in January, and then the State Duma approved the amendments unanimously. This time, the faction leaders also warmly approved of the President’s initiative, and only the Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov vaguely said that “the party will work out its decision in the near future”. However, Parliament Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin confidently stated that the amendments would be supported by all parliamentary factions. Presumably, he has every reason for such confidence: if on February 11 Zyuganov loudly declared that “there is no sense” in voting for the amendments in the second reading, then he later changed his position. He said that 22 of the 114 amendments to the Communist Party were taken into account by the President. Although it was announced that the Communist Party will “decide” on the March 10, there is no reason to doubt Putin’s support from the “official communists”. Indeed, one of the tasks of the Communist Party, according to Zyuganov himself, consists precisely in fulfilling the tasks of the President.
At the meeting, by the way, Vladimir Putin said:
“We need guarantees that it is impossible to roll back in the direction we don’t want to go back. New attempts to build the country are impossible. Nobody wants this. Many of you have witnessed those difficult events. I’m sure that nothing of the kind should be repeated in our history, in our future”.
It is likely that the president had in mind the Soviet past. It was not without reason that he emphasized that the return of socialism was “very unlikely”, and the revision of the results of privatization, the basis of Russian capitalism, is simply impossible … The words about the inadmissibility of the “buildup”, like the rest of Putin’s speech, did not raise any objection from the faction leaders.
The so-called “nationwide vote” on the Constitutional amendments will take place on April 22, the birthday of Vladimir Lenin. Parliamentary parties, including the Communist Party, are mobilized to increase the turnout. This procedure has no legal basis for itself yet.