Russian opponents demand full constitutional reform

Moscow, Jul 4 (efe-epa).- Political opponents to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday demanded a full constitutional reform after a public vote allowed him to stay in power until 2036.

Dozens of politicians from parties including Left Front, the Other Russia and Civil Solidarity, signed letters saying they do not recognize the legitimacy of the referendum.

The documents were delivered to the Kremlin and say the vote, which was held from 25 June to 1 July, was a “scam” that lacked objective social control and sets a “dangerous precedent”.

“In these circumstances, it is not possible to trust the official results of the vote,” it said.

“We have all witnessed a large-scale deception of the citizens and a manipulation of their consciences.”

The group demanded a full reform of the constitution is carried out to “consolidate Russian society”.

Participants gathered in the center of the Russian capital under the watchful eyes of the police, who did not intervene in the protests apart from ensuring that social distancing measures were respected.

They marched to the headquarters of the presidential administration to deliver the letters.

Political activist Sergei Udaltsov called on those present “not to be overwhelmed by sadness because this is what the authorities are looking for, to demoralize the people by imposing the results of the vote”.

He described the campaigning process as propaganda “in the style of Goebbels”.

“We don’t believe in this, we don’t recognize it, we don’t trust these results,” he added.

Political scientist Boris Kagarlitsky said Russian authorities have “cut off the withdrawal route” as Putin’s constitutional referendum crossed the Rubicon of democracy.

“This is the end of the presumably controllable democracy, on July 1 democracy in Russia ceased to exist and gave way to an uncontrollable dictatorship. Society must react to this,” he added.

Almost 78 percent of voters supported the package of amendments to the Russian constitution with around 22 percent rejecting the changes, according to the Central Electoral Commission.

Participation was officially reported to be 68 percent of the electoral roll, roughly 109,190,300 citizens.

The opposition has questioned both the amendments and the voting process itself, which they say was plagued by irregularities. EFE-EPA


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