Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has already led the country for two decades, may remain in power until 2036 under legislation he signed into law Monday. File Photo by YURI KOCHETKOV/EPA-EFE
April 5 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law Monday that could potentially extend his time in office to 2036 by allowing him to be elected to serve two more terms.
The new law places a two-term limit on presidents, but doesn't apply retroactively to Putin's past four terms since he assumed office in 2000, which means he could serve until 2036 if elected again twice, The Guardian reported.
Presidential terms in Russia are six years and Putin's current term ends in 2024. Russians voted last year to pass constitutional amendments that would allow Putin, now age 68, to remain in power until 2036.
The Guardian noted that if Putin does remain in power until 2036, he would become the longest-serving leader of Russia since the Russian empire, surpassing Joseph Stalin's rule for 29 years.
Moscow residents were told they could win "millions of prizes," voting on constitutional amendments, and ads did not say they would reset Putin's term limits, The Guardian previously reported.
A copy of the new law has been posted on the government's legal information website, which CBS reported confirms that the legislation has been finalized.
In December, Putin signed a bill into law that favored the Russian constitution over international treaties, raising human rights concerns.
CBS News reported that Putin ended the year cracking down on dissent by imposing new restrictions on the press, human rights groups, and individual freedoms, which said anyone receiving assistance from abroad and engaging in political activity, such as monitoring elections, must register as "foreign agents." Foreign agents are required to provide financial reports on activities or face fines.