On Thursday, Russian lawmakers submitted legislation that would grant former presidents lifelong immunity from criminal prosecution under the constitutional reforms of President Vladimir Putin, Interfax announced.
Under existing rules, when serving their terms, presidents will not be found criminally or administratively responsible for crimes committed. Earlier this year, a parliamentary working group reviewing Putin’s constitutional changes suggested expanding presidential immunity beyond their terms of office.
Interfax quoted Senator Andrei Klishas, co-chair of the party, as telling reporters, “The bill provides immunity for former presidents within the terms of their presidential powers.”
“This extends the immunity guarantee timeframe for a president who ceases exercising his powers,” added Klishas, who chairs the Constitutional Legislation and State Building Committee of the Federation Council of the upper house.
The newly proposed bill also gives both chambers of the Russian parliament the power to strip Presidents of immunity within three months by a two-thirds vote if they are charged with high treason or other felonies.
The new legislation comes a week after Putin submitted another bill to the Federation Council under his constitutional reforms to give ex-presidents a lifetime seat in the Senate.
During Thursday’s press conference, the Kremlin said that several other nations give their former leaders lifetime assurances and that the movements of Russia are not new to international law.
The two pieces of legislation are part of the constitutional amendments approved by the Russians this summer in a national referendum, paving the way for Putin to extend his reign until 2036 after the completion of his current term in 2024.
They need to pass all legislative chambers held by pro-Putin political parties four times in combination before Putin signs them into law.