- Title: Generation Putin comes of age as Russians vote on extending his rule
- Date: 1st July 2020
- Summary: MOSCOW, RUSSIA (JUNE 25, 2020) (REUTERS) STICKER ON TABLER READING (Russian): 'VOTE NO!' PINS WITH TEXT (Russian): 'NO' 'OPEN RUSSIA' PRO-DEMOCRACY MOVEMENT BANNER NEXT TO TABLE WITH 'CAMPAIGN NO' STICKERS STICKERS READING 'EVERLASTING PUTIN'S RULE - NO - DO NOT LET THEM CHEAT ON YOU!' VARIOUS OF VLADISLAV GRACHEV (RIGHT) LOOKING AT MOSCOW CITY MAP OF 'CAMPAIGN NO' MARKS VARIOUS OF GRACHEV CHOOSING STICKERS ON TABLE (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) 22 YEARS OLD MOSCOW RESIDENT, VLADISLAV GRACHEV, SAYING: "He (Putin) has stayed too long in power. All the good things he could do - he has done. But last years I see very clearly the course toward tightening the screws, that our country fencing out from the other countries, democratic countries, like the United States of America, European Union countries. And in fact, we are going now rather the way of North Korea then European countries and the USA." GRACHEV PLACING STICKER ON WALL STICKER READING (Russian): 'SAY NO TO THIS AUTHORITIES' MOSCOW, RUSSIA (JUNE 26, 2020) (REUTERS) YOUNG MEN ENTERING POLLING STATION FENCE YEKATERING MIKHAILOVA COMING BY FENCE, COMMENTING (Russian) 'THIS IS MY POLLING STATION, NUMBER 445. I DO NOT VOTE TODAY, BECAUSE I DO NOT TRUST ELECTRONIC VOTING AND ADVANCE POLL' SIGNG READING (Russian): 'POLLING STATION NUMBER 445. POLLING STATION NUMBER 450' (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) 20 YEARS OLD MEMBER OF RUSSIAN LIBERTARIAN POLITICAL PARTY, YEKATERINA MIKHAILOVA, SAYING: "Our president has already served several terms and I don't want him to stay there until the end of my life, because he's served all of my life. I'm 20 and for 20 years he's been serving as president. I don't like his politics, but if this person was really elected, if his behaviour and election campaigns, his amendments at least conformed to the existing constitution, I'd have fewer doubts." VARIOUS OF OLD LADY WALKING OUT OF POLLING STATION MOSCOW, RUSSIA (JUNE 26, 2020) (REUTERS) ENTRANCE OF POLLING STATION PLACED IN SCHOOL OBSERVER ALEXANDER KOSTYUK MEASURING TEMPERATURE OF VOTERS ENTERING POLLING STATION KOSTYUK IN POLLING STATION/ WOMAN GETTING VOTING BALLOT MOSCOW, RUSSIA (JUNE 22, 2020) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) 18 YEARS OLD SCHOOL GRADUATE, VOTE OBSERVER, ALEXANDER KOSTYUK, SAYING: "I am not going to vote. And this is my strong stand. I adhere by the law and I'm not ready to take part in events that aren't outlined by current legislation." MOSCOW, RUSSIA (JUNE 26, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF KOSTYUK AT POLLING STATION MOSCOW, RUSSIA (JUNE 22, 2020) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) 18 YEARS OLD SCHOOL GRADUATE, VOTE OBSERVER, ALEXANDER KOSTYUK, SAYING: "I believe this (new) constitution is below the rule-by law and democratic state's code. When Russia was still 'rising from its knees' after the Soviet Union fall, our government promised us that we built a new democratic state. And this state existed, but last twenty years we can see that this democratic state slowly becoming authoritarian." MAN VOTING/ KOSTYUK GIVING MAN VOTE SOUVENIR
- Embargoed: 15th July 2020 06:53
- Keywords: Putin's rule Russia Vladimir Putin constitution vote young voters youth
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- City: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA005CKZ9TFR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Twenty-year-old Russians Yekaterina Mikhailova and Iya Barsegyan have only ever known life under President Vladimir Putin who rose to power in 1999, before they were even born.
The pair may be of the same generation, but politically they are worlds apart, a contrast that shows how the divisions created by Putin's politics could last for years.
This week, Russians are taking part in a nationwide vote on constitutional reforms that would clear the way for Putin to remain in the Kremlin until 2036.
Mikhailova wants Putin out, and is fiercely opposed to the idea of letting him serve two more terms in the Kremlin, instead of stepping down in 2024, accusing him of persecuting his political opponents, stymying Russia's development and ushering in an era of political stagnation.
"The best thing for our country now would be a change of power," said Mikhailova, a member of Russia's Libertarian Party, a small organization with no representation in the national parliament. She plans to vote "no" at the seven-day vote ending on July 1.
"I don't want him to stay there until the end of my life."
Barsegyan, on the other hand, sees no harm in voting in Putin's favor on this point, one among the dozens of reforms being put to a simple yes or no vote ending on July 1.
"The majority of the amendments are important and they should be of benefit to the whole country," Barsegyan told Reuters at a square in central Moscow.
She points to a proposed minimum wage guarantee and a constitutional pledge to defend the legacy of the Soviet World War Two effort against what some Russians believe are attempts by the West to skew history in its favor.
And while Barsegyan was skeptical of some of the more socially conservative reform proposals, such as changing the constitution to define wedlock as a union between a man and a woman only, she also said had no problem with changing the law to allow Putin to reset his count of terms served to zero."I see nothing bad in this.
I doubt the current president will run for another term," she said.
Putin's approval rating is at its lowest since 1999 when he was prime minister, the Levada pollster says, but at 59% it is still high, and reforms are likely to pass with ease.Russian state opinion pollster said on Monday that its exit polls showed that 76% of Russians had so far voted to support reforms.
The Kremlin's critics say the vote is rigged and describe it as a constitutional coup.
Some young voters, like Alexander Kostyuk, 18, have decided to stage a boycott.
"I abide by the law and I'm not ready to participate in events that aren't outlined by current legislation."
(Production: Mikhail Antonov, Lev Sergeev, Tatiana Gomozova)
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