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“Conversion of Russia” Update:

Putin’s “Term” To Be Extended to Seven Years

by Christopher A. Ferrara

Brick by brick, Vladimir Putin puts in place his neo-Stalinist dictatorship in Russia. Day by day, we chronicle his sneaky doings here at fatima.org, for you won’t get the truth from the “mainstream” Catholic press, which continues to cater to the delusion that Pope John Paul II brought about Russia’s “conversion” by conducting a 1984 consecration ceremony from which any mention of Russia was deliberately excluded.

Now it seems that Putin has arranged to extend his “term” as the “democratically elected” Russian president from four years to seven years. This will be done through a constitutional amendment to be passed by the Russian parliament, which is now completely dominated by Putin’s “democratically elected” United Russia Party.

On February 6, 2004 The New York Times reported that later this month the Russian Parliament will take up the measure. If passed, it would allow Putin to run for two consecutive seven-year terms, keeping him in power until 2018.

Putin — this is rich — claims he opposes the legislation. (Oh please, please, don’t throw me in that briar patch, said the rabbit to the fox.) That struck the Times as odd, since the legislation is being advanced by the very party Putin controls and which would not, under any circumstances, defy his will. When asked to explain this strange behavior, “a party aide described the decision as a routine effort to clear a backlog of proposals.” I can just imagine some Russian legislator pawing through a towering stack of legislative proposals and exclaiming: “Hey, here’s one we overlooked — the term-extension bill. Holy cow! We’ve got to get this to the floor right away.”

Putin’s political opposition — what’s left of it — is not nearly that gullible. Irina Khakamada, one of Putin’s last remaining challengers in the upcoming presidential “race”, likened the situation to Turkmenistan, which is ruled by the autocrat Saparmurat Niyazov. Other opponents have described the move as “an elaborate ploy to allow Mr. Putin to appear to be rising above the tide of popular sentiment, or a reflection of creeping dictatorship.” Indeed, the prominent American political columnist William Safire is now speaking of “the creeping coup” of Vladimir Putin and warning that NATO must be on guard against “the Russian bear”.

Since United Russia now has a two-thirds majority of the Russian parliament, passage seems likely. But it won’t end there. By sheer “coincidence” both the pro-Kremlin president of Chechnya, Akhmad Kadyrov, and the leader of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, have both declared that Putin should be “president for life.”

And no doubt Putin would “oppose” this measure as well. But somehow I don’t think he would object to actually being president for life. Nor will anyone else — at least not loudly enough to annoy Mr. Putin.

Back in 1991, the dupes of Fatima revisionism had a hearty laugh at Father Nicholas Gruner’s warning that Russia had not really changed, but was merely reorganizing itself along neo-Stalinist lines. But today even William Safire is speaking of Putin’s “creeping coup” and “the Russian bear”, while Putin’s military has just completed an exercise simulating a nuclear attack on the United States.

Who’s laughing now?