Washington–Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement: 

“What we saw in Russia today was a fully-fledged assault on its constitution and the rule of law. Make no mistake -- the changes put forth by President Vladimir Putin are nothing more than a codification of his desire to be dictator for life of Russia and its people. 

“Time and time again, President Putin has demonstrated that keeping a tight grip on the reins of power in Russia is his highest priority – regardless of whether he does so as Presidentprime minister, chairman of the State Council, or through unofficial governance as leader of a political party.  It is also alarming that Putin proposed the demotion of international law in the Russian Constitution – which would free his regime from OSCE and Council of Europe obligations. 

“I implore the Russian people to think critically about President Putin’s proposed constitutional overhaul, and urge the Russian President and Russian government to start serving the people of Russia and stop serving themselves.”