March 25, 2020 - 21:23 AMT
Russia postpones constitutional referendum

Russia’s April 22 public vote on a package of constitutional amendments will be postponed until after the coronavirus outbreak is under control, President Vladimir Putin said in a surprise televised address to the nation Wednesday, March 25, The Moscow Times reports.

The constitutional changes include an amendment that would reset the number of terms served by current and former presidents.

The amendment, which has been approved by lawmakers and the Constitutional Court, would potentially allow Putin to remain president until 2036.

Putin said the vote would be postponed indefinitely.

He added that next week would be a nationwide paid holiday to encourage Russians to stay home and slow the spread of the virus.

“We managed to restrain the spread of the disease, but it is impossible to completely block the infiltration of the coronavirus,” he said.

"Don't think that 'This can't happen to me.' It can happen to anyone. ... The most important thing is to stay home," he added.