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Putin all for limiting presidential terms, just after his potential 20 years in office

Russian leader says "reasonable" to limit the power of the presidency...oh, eventually.
Putin inauguration holiday russia 20120315Enlarge
Russia's outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev (R) and newly elected president Vladimir Putin (L) meet with former Italy's Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi at the Rosa Khutor apline ski resort in Krasnaya Polyana, some 30 miles from Sochi, on March 8, 2012. Italy's ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi flew into Russia for a lavish dinner with Vladimir Putin after his old ally's victory in presidential elections, state television said. (DMITRY ASTAKHOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia's president-elect Vladimir Putin today said a two-term limit for the Russian presidency "makes sense" -- just not for him. 

The Russian leader, who is set to assume his third presidential term soon, was quick to say that any such ruling should only go into effect after his stay in office, according to The Los Angeles Times

In his last speech to lawmakers as prime minister today, Putin -- who managed not to cry on this particular occasion -- was careful to say any new limits "wouldn't be retroactive," said LA Times

Meaning the rules wouldn't apply to him, a bravado act typical of Putin and one that serves as a bleak reminder of the country's struggle with rampant political corruption

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Several opposition activists were today arrested outside parliament, where Putin was speaking, on charges of holding an unsanctioned demonstration, said the Associated Press

Putin served as Russia's president from 2000 until 2008 before nominally handing power to President Dmitry Medvedev because the Russian Constitution forbids more than two consecutive terms. 

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After biding his time as prime minister -- and overseeing a little legislative tweak that amended the country's four-year presidential terms to a comfortably expansive six-year stint -- Putin picked up right where he left off. 

His December election prompted massive street protests over accusations of widespread fraud, opposition that has not however succeeded in putting a stop to his impending swearing-in, which is set for May 7. 

The LA Times not-so-subtly observed that if Putin seeks another term after 2018, "as expected," it would make him "leader of the Kremlin longer than anyone since dictator Josef Stalin." 

At which time, the paper went on to note, he'll still be a spry 71-year-old.

He might not be able to keep up his black-belt judo practice by then, but when it comes to political muscle -- seems Putin's always game. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/news/regions/europe/russia/putin-all-limiting-presidential-terms-just-after-his-potential

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