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Russian voters overwhelmingly back a ploy by President Vladimir Putin to ru

President Vladimir Putin has won a resounding victory in his bid to stay in power until the middle of the next decade, as Russians voted overwhelmingly to endorse the country’s political status quo, according to preliminary results. 

Russians went to the polls Wednesday to cast ballots in a nationwide referendum on constitutional amendments. The vote paves the way for Putin, who has ruled for two decades, to remain president until 2036.

Campaign literature made little mention of the real purpose of the referendum, framing it as a return to old-fashioned family values, designed to appeal to conservative voters.

“Our country, our constitution, our decision” was the slogan on the information bulletin explaining the constitutional reform to voters. The brochure spelled out a range of amendments, including a provision that defines marriage strictly as a “union of a man and a woman.”

But the brochure glosses over one key point: The changes to the constitution effectively reset the clock on Putin’s term limits, allowing him to seek two more six-year terms when his presidency ends in 2024.

It’s little surprise, then, that the government has pushed a robust get-out-the-vote effort, with a very clear goal: ensuring the public gives a resounding endorsement to the constitutional change.

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