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Talk of an early retirement for Vladimir Putin is premature

Speculation rose after parliament passed a law granting immunity from prosecution to former presidents and their families

Henry Foy NOVEMBER 23 2020

Tatiana Stanovaya, a Russian political analyst, reckons that while it is natural for Mr Putin to seek the comfort of protection should his presidency end, there is no connection between the new legislation and his possible retirement plans. “What we can say now is that he makes everything for us not to understand when he would resign,” she said.

Indeed, as a president who amassed near-total political power and then rewrote the rules to suit his plans, he is aware that any successor could do the same and make short work of any legislative safety net. “He could find a successor before, and he can today, and he is aware that he can never be sure that it’s not a mistake,” said Ms Stanovaya. “You will never be protected by your choice.” Until Mr Putin finds a way to solve that conundrum, talk of transition is premature. But for now, there is no harm in keeping his options open.

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