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Russia's President Vladimir Putin during a video conference meeting on the COVID-19 cornavirus situation in Russia, at Novo-Ogaryovo residence. Alexei Druzhinin/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS

Russian President Vladimir Putin will address Russians on Tuesday at about 14:00 Moscow time in the run-up to the main voting day on Russian constitutional amendments, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“Yes, it is true, Putin will make a televised address to Russians, this will take place at about 14:00 Moscow time,” he said.

The nationwide vote on amendments to the Russian Constitution kicked off on June 25. Though the Russian president’s decree sets July 1 as the official voting day, Russians were also provided with the opportunity to cast their ballots on June 25-30 in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

According to the Central Election Commission’s decision, polling stations across the country will be open from 8:00 to 20:00 between June 25 and July 1. People can also cast their ballots at home or in temporary locations set up in residential areas. In addition, online voting is underway in Moscow and the Nizhny Novgorod Region. The vote count will begin after the voting process is over at 8:00 local time on July 1.

About the constitutional amendments vote

On March 11, the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) approved the final reading of the constitutional amendments bill proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. On the same day, it was approved by the Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) and Russia’s regional parliaments.

A public vote is being held on the proposed constitutional amendments. If over 50% of the Russian public approve of the changes, the bill will enter into force.

The document proposes to expand the powers of the Russian parliament and the Russian Constitutional Court, a fixed number of presidential terms, as well as the prevalence of the Russian Constitution over international agreements. The document also expands the government’s obligations in the social sphere. The amendments to the Constitution stipulate that the Russian head of state can only serve two terms, however, one of the amendments proposes that the current president can be re-elected if the new version of the Constitution comes into force.

Source: TASS, June 30, 2020