Russia opens polls for vote on extending Putin’s rule

MOSCOW (AP) — Polls have opened in Russia on Thursday for a week-long vote on a constitutional reform that would allow President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036. The vote on a slew of constitutional amendments, proposed by Putin in January, was initially scheduled for April 22, but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The changes have already been approved by both houses of parliament, the country’s Constitutional Court and were signed into law by Putin. He insisted to putting them up to a vote, even though it is not legally required, in what is seen by many as an effort to put a veneer of democracy on the controversial changes.