In January, Putin's Cabinet, including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, abruptly resigned, in a move aimed at easing the constitutional changes.
The constitutional amendments in the referendum already cleared the national parliament in Moscow and were ratified by regional legislatures across the nation.
Senator Klishas pointed to the main reason for Russians to abandon any democratic aspirations they may have harbored since the fall of Communism: "The situation is really very hard".
The citizens' vote was initially scheduled for April 22, but postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ella Pamfilova, the Central Election Committee Head, lauded the organization of the referendum, saying that the nationwide vote went better than the CEC had expected. The turnout was 65 percent, according to RT. The Kremlin described the vote as a "triumph" (RBC, July 2).
For the first time in Russia polls were kept open for a week to bolster turnout
Previous Russian constitutions were either inspired or influenced by foreign legislators, but the amendments that the country is voting on are truly "Russia-centered", McCauley said. Namely, the new constitution presents tighter requirements for future presidential candidates, such as living in Russian Federation for at least 25 years, while strictly limiting them to two terms without the ability to run again in the future.
Russia's Constitution allows for two consecutive terms as president, but the amendments would hit the reset button, allowing Putin two additional possible six-year terms, running through 2036.
Early voting has been officially allowed since June 10. Today, the Kremlin de facto fully dominates, with the State Duma and judges rubberstamping all directives handed down by the Presidential Office.
The results mean the amendments will come into force, as the condition of approval from over half of the voters was met.
"The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned this voting in the occupied parts of Ukraine as a violation of the fundamental norms and principles of worldwide law and the legislation of Ukraine". Under the rewritten constitution, such a two-thirds vote is not enough-the Constitutional Court must also agree.
President Putin thanked him for the phone call and reiterated his commitment to further strengthen the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between the two countries in all spheres, it added.