Russian President Vladimir Putin has submitted to parliament various constitutional changes, including amendments that mention God and stipulate that marriage is an association of a man and a woman.
Putin in January sparked off controversy by proposing an overhaul of the Constitution, the first ever changes to the basic law since 1993. Shortly afterwards, the lower house unanimously approved the constitutional reform bill in a first reading after two hours of debate.
Ahead of a second and key reading set for next week, Putin has submitted 24 pages worth of new proposals, said State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.
"The president's amendments are the result of his dialogue with representatives of all factions (and) civil society," he said in comments released by the State Duma.
“The amendments enshrine the mention of Russians' "faith in God" and also stipulate that marriage is a heterosexual union,” said Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy.
Most Russians distinguish as Orthodox Christians however Russia is officially a secular state. The new amendments additionally ban giving away the Russian territory area and any call advancing such a move would likewise be banned.
A member of a Kremlin-appointed constitutional working group, actor Vladimir Mashkov, has suggested that such an amendment would ensure, that Russia keeps Crimea — which it annexed from Ukraine in 2014 — or the Kuril Islands — disputed with Japan for decades, even after Putin quits power.
The 67-year-old Putin, who has dominated Russia for 20 years, has sought to cast himself a defender of traditional values and rally support by promoting anti-western and conservative ideas.
Analysts see Putin’s plans to change the constitution as a part of preparations for succession while his current Kremlin term is set to end in 2024. Recently, more than 22,000 people rallied in central Moscow to call on Putin not to stay in power indefinitely.
Author – Devansh Dev