2 Jul 2020 20:46

Putin gets Russians' mandate to reset power - expert

MOSCOW. July 2 (Interfax) - The results of the nationwide vote on changes to the Fundamental Law reflect a high level of public trust in Russian President Vladimir Putin, the head of the Foundation for Civil Society Development with close links to the Kremlin, Konstantin Kostin, said.

"Many experts are talking about total support by Russian citizens for the constitutional amendments. Certainly, such a result largely proves the high level of trust in President Putin who not only proposed the amendments, but he also took an active part in promoting and explaining them," Kostin said during a roundtable hosted by his foundation to discuss the vote results on Thursday.

"Such indicators, and such a level of support are giving the president a broad mandate both for practical implementation of the new provisions of the Constitution and for setting and rebooting the whole system of state power. In this context, it seems to me we may expect a very eventful political season," Kostin said.

The Russians' approval of the amendments was to a large extent down to the social welfare changes to the Fundamental Law, he said.

"Speaking of the breakdown of the results, it seems to me that, as well as the Putin factor, this support is based primarily on social guarantees. These articles, which have appeared in the Constitution, had the support of over 90%. Another factor is the Russian authorities' efforts to overcome the coronavirus pandemic," Kostin said.

The opposition which was criticizing the idea of the nationwide vote, made some tactical missteps, he said.

"They [the opposition circles] failed to think through some arguments which were of interest to the people outside their circle. They immediately seized on the so-called amendment about nullification. For a majority of citizens, Putin's supporters, that is a crucial circumstance and one of the very important reasons to support the Constitution. This Putin's majority had the mobilizing effect," Kostin said.