Two members of the US Congress on Thursday, 18 November, introduced a resolution to end the US’ recognition of Vladimir Putin as President of Russia if he remains in power after 2024. It is to mention that earlier this year Putin signed a law that gives the Russian head of state the right to seek two more terms in office. However, US Congressmen Steve Cohen and Joe Wilson introduced the resolution claiming irregularities in Russia’s elections that have kept Putin in power. They also said that Putin’s continuation in office beyond 2024 would be “illegitimate”.
In a press release, Cohen’s office said, “Congressman Steve Cohen, Co-Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, better known as the Helsinki Commission, along with Ranking Member Joe Wilson of South Carolina, today introduced a Congressional Resolution to end recognition of Vladimir Putin as president of Russia after May 7, 2024, if the autocrat remains in power.”
“The resolution notes the irregularities in elections that kept Putin in power and makes the case that his continuation in office is illegitimate,” it added.
Separately, the resolution read that the Russian Federation, as a member of the UN, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the Council of Europe, is bound by international commitments with regard to human rights and the rule of law. It also noted that the constitution of Russia states that one and the same person cannot occupy the office of President for more than two consecutive terms. Notably, Putin has been the President of Russia for two consecutive terms, the first lasting from May 2000 to May 2008 and the second and final term beginning May 2012 and expiring on May 2024.
The resolution further stated that the approval vote of the constitutional amendment proposed by Putin had taken place between June and July 2020, under the unprecedented conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic. It said that the approval of the amendment was marked by widespread reports of organized voter coercion, multiple voting, ballot-stuffing, and violation of the secrecy of the ballot, and by one-sided media coverage in favour of the amendments. It added that the opponents of the amendments were not given airtime in the media and had their campaign rallies prohibited and their websites blocked.