Anna van Densky OPINION Amid coronavirus pandemic drama a few noticed a remarkable milestone date, defining the future of Russian Federation for next couple of decades: the birth of the second grand “Politburo” with life-long members. (Image above: Vladimir Putin and Sergey Lavrov).
On March 21 Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Minister of Russia became de facto a “member of Politburo” to stay most probably as long as one of his great predecessors – Andrey Gromyko who led Soviet diplomacy for 28 years (1957-1985). This perspective is especially real in the context of change of Russian Constitution, breaking the time limits for Vladimir Putin to become life-long President.
Before crushing Russian Constitution to dust to establish dictatorship, rooted in methodically consturcted “cult of personality” during last 20 years, Vladimir Putin signed Federal Law No. 143-FZ of May 23, 2016, which provided for a phased increase in the old-age retirement for people who fill government positions in the Russian Federation and positions in constituent entities, as well as those who hold state and municipal services.
The age limit for civil service became 65 years. Previously this age level was 60 years old (Part 1 of Article 25.1 of the Federal Law of July 27, 2004 No. 79-FZ “On the State Civil Service of the Russian Federation”).
Extension of the service remains possible, but only for civil servants filling the posts of the category “assistants (advisers)”, established to assist the person filling the public position. The term of extension will not change for them – until the end of the term of office. But the rest of the civil servants, who can be extended to 65 years today, will lose the possibility of further extension.
For the top figures of public service the term can be extended to 70 years. But for them, the procedure for agreeing on such an extension has changed. Before the signature of the law it was decided by the President, then after the amendments enter into force, further service by such persons should be extended by the Federal state body that appointed them to the position or by the corresponding official.
The new rules came into effect on January 1, 2017, however Minister Lavrov has successfully ignored them to stay “forever” top diplomat of Russian Federation, illustrating the predominant culture of contempt to laws, that is so typical for post-Soviet period. None of the official instances clarified the legal basis for the permission to Lavrov to stay beyond legally established age.
However this episode facilites the shaping of Western policies vis-à-vis Russia, returning to the déjà vu pattern of Soviet era of Brezhnev stagnation, ending in biological change of power after him and his Politburo passing away.
Nowadays with the significant achievments of medicine visible on example of “eternal‘ President of Cameroon Paul Biya (87), Putin and his “Politburo” reign togehter with the five year period of Politburo “ostentatious” funerals can last easerly up to 2040, until Death do us part. Amen!