Why does Putin need immunity? Russia considering adopting immunity law for former presidents
Unexpected bills have been put forward in the Russian Duma, guaranteeing immunity to former presidents of the country.
This initiative looks strange given that the current leader of the country Vladimir Putin has no obstacles to continue ruling the country for many years to come. At the same time, unconfirmed rumors in the media speak about Putin’s grave health condition.
Last week, amendments to two laws regarding the status and rights of former presidents of the Russian Federation were introduced in the Russian parliament.
One of these laws guarantees immunity for the country’s president after leaving the position. From now on former presidents of Russia can’t be held responsible for crimes they commit at any time — before election, during the presidency or after resignation.
In the second case, amendments to the law allow Vladimir Putin to have a lifelong seat in the upper chamber of the parliament, Federation Council. This position also gives him immunity from criminal persecution.
“Putin’s illness” — where rumors come from
The new law that forever releases Vladimir Putin from deeds committed in the past and potentially done in the future, draws attention to the unconfirmed rumors of the Russian president’s grave medical diagnosis.
News about Vladimir Putin having Parkinson’s decease is being actively discussed in international and Russian media. Regarding this, his family members — daughters Maria and Yekaterina, as well as assumptive current partner Alina Kabayeva allegedly insist on his resignation from the position of the president of Russia.
The only source of this information is the British tabloid The Sun. This publication doesn’t enjoy the reputation of a trustworthy one. But it is a known fact that it is often used by various political powers to check public reaction to possible event scenarios in different countries.
Material published by The Sun is fully based on the statement of the Russian political scientist Valeri Solovey who also has quite a dubious reputation — virtually none of his extravagant forecasts come true. For instance, Solovey has already once predicted resignation of Putin in 2012 and not later than March 2020.
Thus, this information could have been ignored as false, were it not for the sudden amendments to the law.
Why does Putin need guarantees?
Why does he need such double protection? And what accusations can Vladimir Putin be afraid of?
Vladimir Putin knows Russian political tradition all too well: each subsequent leader of the country strengthens his authority by discrediting everything done by his predecessor. And spares no means for this.
The current Russian president acted in the exact same way towards Boris Yeltsin and his legacy.
If and when governance in Russia changes, what claims can his successor have against Putin?
The list is quite long:
- Power usurpation — consistent deprivation of power from governors and mayors in the favor of central authorities.
- Property seizure — the most well-known example is expropriation of the largest oil company UKOS and 10-year jail sentence for its owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
- Implication in political murders — this implies deaths of such well-known critics of Putin as politician Boris Nemtsov, journalist Anna Politkovskaya, human rights activist Natalia Estemirova.
- Aggression towards other countries and annexation of their territories — Crimea and Donbass are the first on this list.
- Systematic corruption and illegal enrichment — during Putin’s rule, at least 10 his friends became dollar billionaires.
Below is the opinion of an independent Russian political scientist Kirill Rogov:
— Vladimir Putin doesn’t really look very lively, his aging is very obvious (which is biologically normal), certain awkwardness of positions he takes during public speeches has been discussed for a while.
The bill on Putin’s immunity is supposedly directed at avoiding reprisals against the former president with ‘fictitious criminal cases’, which is, as a matter of fact, virtually the entire foundation of Putin’s power.
But what’s important: this amendment really looks too specific, politically emotional, and legally senseless. That’s why it resonates with the news about Putin’s ‘illness’ which will allegedly make him leave this position soon. Together, these two pieces of news create a cumulative effect and make one seriously speculate on nearest resignation.
Full lifelong immunity guaranteed by the new law reaches two people having occupied the position of the President of Russia in the past 20 years — Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev.
List of accusations they can theoretically be charged with includes starting the war against Georgia in 2008. Vladimir Putin was the Prime Minister at that time and bears his share of responsibility.