- Title: Putin says Russians voted 'with their hearts' to let him extend rule
- Date: 3rd July 2020
- Summary: NOVO-OGARYOVO, RUSSIA (JULY 3, 2020) (RUSSIAN POOL) (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "In general, the results of the vote showed a high level of unity in society on key questions that are of national significance." (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "People felt with their hearts that amendments, proposed by the citizens of Russia, the working group, members of parliament, were in demand and the country needs them." (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) FIRST WOMAN IN SPACE AND MEMBER OF RUSSIAN DUMA, VALENTINA TERESHKOVA, SAYING: "I want to say that we are getting a flood of letters (OVER MEETING MEMBERS DISPLAYED AT SCREEN) expressing not only kind words, gratitude to you, but people also connect you with stability (BACK TO TERESHKOVA) in the country. Thank you very much." (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "(STATE SENATOR ALEKSEI PUSHKOV SAYING OFF CAMERA: AMERICAN DIPLOMATS WORK IN THIS BUILDING (IN EMBASSY). Flag!? I got it. Okay. (OVER PUTIN AND PUSHKOV AT SCREEN/ PUSKOV SAYING: FLAG IS RAINBOW-COLORED THAT'S WHY I PAID ATTENTION TO IT) Yes, they (BACK TO PUTIN) have shown something about who is working there. But never mind... Our position is understood." MEETING IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "Russia, does not, did not and will not limit human rights on racial, religious grounds, on sexual orientation, or nationality in any way. This has never happened in Russia and will never happen. The issue is completely different - yes, a few years ago we passed a law prohibiting propaganda of homosexualism among minors." VARIOUS OF ONLINE MEETING IN PROGRESS
- Embargoed: 17th July 2020 14:59
- Keywords: Putin Putin's rule Russia Russian constitution constitution amendments constitution changes vote
- Location: NOVO-OGARYOVO AND MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- City: NOVO-OGARYOVO AND MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA004CL9A79J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: President Vladimir Putin said on Friday Russian society had shown unity by voting to back reforms allowing him to stay in power until 2036 and that Russians had felt the need for the changes in their hearts.
Putin, 67, also decreed the constitutional amendments would enter force on July 4 after they were backed by almost 78% of Russians, according to official results, in a week-long vote that ended on Wednesday.
The Kremlin has hailed the landslide victory as a triumph for Putin, but critics said the vote was illegal and illegitimate. An independent monitoring group said the vote was deeply flawed.
"People felt with their hearts that what was on offer (the amendments) ... was in demand and what the country needed," Putin said in his first public comments on the vote.
"In general, the results of the vote showed a high level of unity in society on key questions that are of national significance," Putin said.
Other changes in the reform package grant former presidents immunity from prosecution, enshrine a reference in the constitution to God and define marriage as a union of a man and a woman.
Putin also used a meeting with officials broadcast on state television to try to poke fun at the U.S. embassy in Moscow for flying the rainbow flag as part of LGBT pride celebrations.
"They have shown something about who is working there. But never mind ... Our position is understood," said Putin, who has sought to distance Russia from liberal Western values and aligned himself with the Russian Orthodox Church.
Putin said during the campaign to change the constitution that he would not let the traditional notion of a mother and father be subverted by what he called "parent number 1" and "parent number 2."
(Production: Anastasia Adasheva, Gennady Novik, Dmitry Madorsky)
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